Lights. Camera. Lead. HISD spotlights Star Educator LaKia Jackson

Principal LaKia Jackson is leading impactful change at Fondren Middle School and is this week’s HISD Star Educator.

With two decades of experience in urban education, Jackson brings a passion for motivating both students and teachers to her NES campus. Together, Jackson and her team are building a high-performance culture backed by the school’s mantra of Excellence: Everyone-Everything-Everyday.

Jackson was a seventh grade ELA teacher for ten years before holding various leadership roles as a reading specialist, literacy coach, instructional specialist, assistant principal, and dean of instruction. She believes students deserve the very best and is committed to seeing them succeed.

Get to know more about Principal Jackson:

Favorite subject in school: English Language Arts and Reading

Favorite book: Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Favorite thing about Houston: You can go to one side of Houston and feel that you’re in a completely different state or country. I live far north, and I can book a staycation by the Galleria and completely escape as if I was in another country.

Goal for your students and staff this upcoming school year: My goal for our staff and students would be for all of them to receive the necessary scaffolded support and high-quality instruction that will yield continued growth academically and socially.

LJ: I’m LaKia Jackson. I’m the principal at Fondren Middle School, and I am speaking on behalf of myself.

SM: What have you noticed about the difference in culture for teachers, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year?

LJ: I was extremely intentional about us building the culture. I want people to want to come because there are going to be some days where it’s really, really difficult. You know, we have students that come to us that are two or three grades below. I always talk about my “why.” My “why” is the fact that our students deserve the best. I don’t care what it is, what we have to do, they deserve it. And so, we don’t get to come and have an off day. I help them to understand that I’m here. I’m going to be here to support, but I’m going to hold you accountable. Now they see that I’m really there for them. I’m really there for the kids. I’m really there for the community. And they they want to do it.

SM: What have you noticed about the impact on student achievement that the differentiated model has had?

LJ: I think it has motivated our frequent students that are going to the team center. They want to go to the team center because it’s a feeling of accomplishment. It’s a feeling of “I’m at the cream of the crop.” You know, “I got an A.” I’m in the hallways, and they’re like, “I got an A” or “I got an S2.” So, it motivates the kids to want to go to the team center. At first they were unsure of like, well, why do we have to go here? So, it was, again, it was just new. But once they got to see how it impacted them, it kind of boosted their confidence. And so, even some of our discipline kids were going to the team center, not for discipline, but because they got As or they got S2s. And so, you can just see that they, you know, their personalities lit up. They were just excited because they, like, finally got that they were doing something right or they needed something good.

SM: What do you feel most proud of this school year?

LJ: Last week I had maybe about three eighth graders at dismissal, and was like, “Miss Jackson, I got my red points!” And I was like, what? It caught me off guard. But they were so excited that they met their growth points. I’m super excited that our kids now own their data. They’re proud of the work that they’re doing. For the most part, they want to be there. They want to achieve. They want that feeling of “I’m smart.” They want that feeling of “I can do it.”