Note: Deon Jackson, photo above, is a member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets Class of 1999; he also earned degrees through The Citadel Graduate College in 2005 and 2013.
As seen in The Daniel Island News, by Elizabeth Horton
Deon Jackson spent six years working as a teacher in the classroom and plans to use that foundation to cultivate relationships with staff, parents, students, and stakeholders in his new role as Berkeley County School District’s (BCSD) superintendent.
His 100 Day Plan focuses on lofty goals, such as improving organizational culture, facilitating efficiency of operations, maintaining safety and security, and maximizing students’ academic potential.
Jackson officially assumed the position on July 1, 2021. Previously, he served as the chief administrative officer for pupil services for BCSD. He is a graduate of The Citadel and is currently pursuing a Ph.D from the University of South Carolina.
“Some of my very best days and memories were from my time as a classroom teacher, but I also remember the challenges I faced,” Jackson said. “So I will work with our Teacher Forum to ensure that teacher voices are represented when making decisions that affect our schools.”
After spending time in the classroom, Jackson served as principal of Cane Bay Middle and St. Stephen Middle and assistant principal at Timberland High. In 2014, he was named BCSD Middle School Principal of the Year at Cane Bay.
Jackson said that the district does have its challenges, but he prefers to see them as opportunities.
“We are tasked with addressing our students’ unfinished learning,” he noted. “We have received specific funding to offer our students enhanced academic support and intervention, and we are working hand-in-hand with our principals and teachers to identify the best strategies for supporting learning when our students return.”
The district welcomes public input and encourages families to complete the surveys available through email or online.
“We are also tasked with opening and operating schools while COVID-19 continues to have an impact on many of our families and communities,” Jackson explained. “We released the BCSD Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan earlier this summer and continue to review and update the information as needed. In this plan, we outline how we will work to maintain health and safety in our buildings, approach policies and practices regarding CDC recommendations, complete contract tracing and implement quarantine guidelines, among many other topics related to opening schools that will be of interest to our families.”
Berkeley County’s rapid growth is another “opportunity.” Jackson said that the school district cannot plan for and manage growth alone; his goal is to collaborate with county government leaders, municipal leaders, and communities to develop sustainable and efficient plans for growth.
Additionally, he prefers to focus on the positives that came with the pandemic.
“The crisis forced us all to push outside of our silos and collaborate more effectively,” Jackson noted. “We improved our communication platforms and processes to receive feedback, we watched in awe as our teachers transformed learning and engaged students effectively in a pandemic, and we expanded our community and business partnerships. We now have a road map that we can follow in the future to deliver education and support to our students and families during crises in a more effective way.”
He continued, “We were forced to finitely review everything that we do, and, as a result, we have improved in ways we never knew we needed to.”
On Aug. 16, Jackson will send two of his youngest children off to school in the district he is charged with overseeing. The success of BCSD, its staff, students and communities is a personal investment for Jackson — a married father of five who enjoys cooking and spending time with his family, cheering them on as they pursue their interests.