Kristen grew up in Wilmington, Delaware and attended public schools in Red Clay School District. She attended Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication and was awarded a bachelor’s degree from SU in 1997.

After college she moved to Washington, D.C., working for the National Academy of Sciences in its Office of News and Public Information. From there, she worked her way up the ladder and gained public relations and communications experience while working for Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, America Online (AOL) and the Rubber Manufacturers Association. 

Kristen and her family moved to Richmond in 2005.  Three years later when she started exploring kindergarten options for her son she stumbled upon Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts (PHSSA), Virginia's first elementary charter school.  Kristen served on the board at Patrick Henry for several years and filled the role as school spokesperson.  This experience led her to want to get more involved in Richmond's educational system and in 2012 Kristen launched a campaign for Richmond School Board's 4th district.  She won the election in a 5-way race and started her 4 year term in January 2013.  She served as the co-chair of the RPS Facilities Committee and was the RPS board liaison to the Greater Richmond Chamber.  She also sat on the City of Richmond Early Childhood Action Team. 

Kristen was featured in Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40 in 2012.  She was also featured in Style's top Richmond Power List in 2014.

In 2016 Kristen won a 5-way race for the 4th district city council seat.  She started that 4-year term in January 2017.  She serves on city council committees:  Education & Health (chair), and Finance.  She also serves as the city council appointee to the Richmond Ambulance Authority.