About Jess

(Photo credit: Beth Mann/Chapel Hill Magazine)

Jessica Cooper Anderson was elected to the Chapel Hill Town Council as the leading vote-getter in the 2015 municipal election. She currently serves as Chapel Hill's mayor pro tem, a role to which she was unanimously elected by her council peers at the start of the 2018 session. In 2019, Chapel Hill Magazine named Jess one of "Chapel Hill's Women of Achievement" as one of Fourteen Women Making Their Mark on Our Community." Jess has served on numerous town boards and commissions, including:

  • Committee on Economic Sustainability
  • Committee on Sustainability, Energy & Environment
  • Subcommittee on Amity Station
  • Facilities Naming Committee
  • Historic District Commission
  • Library Board of Trustees
  • Mayor’s Committee on Council Communications
  • Orange Water & Sewer Authority (Interview Committee)
  • Parks, Greenways, and Recreation Commission
  • Town Properties Task Force


A Chapel Hill resident for nearly ten years, Jess holds a Master’s in Public Policy (concentration in social policy) from the Terry Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University and has spent her professional career immersed in education policy at the national and state levels. In addition to her council duties, Jess serves as a senior policy analyst at the SERVE Center at UNC Greensboro, where she has led various statewide evaluations related to K-12 education. She currently provides technical assistance to communities across the nation with the goal of improving educational support and services for youth who are experiencing homelessness.

Jess has volunteered for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocate Program and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Mothers Club. Her prior civic engagement experience also includes work in a residential facility for pregnant and parenting teens experiencing homelessness and volunteer work in skilled nursing facilities.

Jess lives in the Colonial Heights precinct with her family. As a mother to two children -- one who attends Chapel Hill Schools and another who will soon -- Jess is heavily invested in working closely with the School Board to keep our schools safe and strong. 

In her spare time, Jess enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, exercising and reading.