One of the reasons Joanne Jackson applied for the position of principal at Bucknell Elementary School was she liked the size and population of the school. Now that she has been selected as the school's principal, she is looking forward to working with the 320 students who attend it.
"My biggest goal is to build upon the program's strengths and create a community where all students can learn and succeed," she said.
Jackson has worked in various school systems for 14 years, 10 of those in the classroom. She was a science resource teacher in Florida before she became the assistant principal at Fort Belvoir elementary. Most recently, she was the assistant principal at Hybla Valley Elementary School.
"They have a wonderful system in Fairfax County, it's a national model," said Jackson. The system she refers to is the program that grooms teachers for leadership roles. Front and center of that system is the Fairfax County Academy, where new teachers take the Great Beginnings course.
"It's a wonderful program and meets the needs of new teachers," said Jackson, who is one of the instructors.
At Hybla Valley, Jackson said that she worked closely with the staff, students and parents. She believes that it is important to greet the children every morning and say good-bye to them at the end of the day.
"Kids are excited to come and learn. You can see it by the smiles on their faces," said Jackson.
WHILE SHE'S NOT planning to make any immediate changes at Bucknell, she is hoping to implement some additional after-school programs.
"After-school programs can be effective and the parents are looking for different kinds of programs," she said.
Jackson said that they are also waiting to hear if they will receive the Reading First grant. This will give the school added resources and help fund Bucknell's reading program.
Jackson met all the teachers when a reception was held to announce her appointment. She is planning to meet with grade-level teachers and talk about the vision and focus of the school. There are still a few positions that she needs to fill as well. She attended the last meeting of the PTA and is planning to meet with members of the PTA this summer. Assistant principal Janice Dowe will remain, as will members of the administration. Jackson said that this makes the transition easier.
She also met with Juanita Trapp, Bucknell's former principal, a few times before she retired.
"I'm really excited to be here at Bucknell. I look forward to working with everyone at Bucknell. It's a wonderful school," said Jackson.