Board Member Focus: Diane Jackson, Jefferson Rise Academy

dianejacksonHow did you become involved in your charter school?
In the midst of looking for something more impactful in the education arena, I met Miss Kathleen Sullivan, Jefferson RISE Head of School, at a local education fundraiser for Jefferson Parish public high school seniors.

Why did you say yes when asked to serve?
It is my dream that all children, no matter their background, will be afforded the same education as their wealthier counterparts — I saw Jefferson RISE as another opportunity to work towards making this dream a reality. I bring my passion along with my experience in supporting our local youth to Jefferson RISE. With my involvement, I have seen what happens when we don’t have high expectations. So often, I have heard that as long as we are “better” than the next school, district or parish we have hit our mark. I want our students to be able to compete in the global market for jobs with students from all over the world.

What was compelling about the opportunity?
I volunteer in several organizations and programs all centered around educating tomorrow’s leaders. Serving on the Board of Directors of Jefferson RISE provides me with an invaluable opportunity to learn the inner workings of a charter school. I have a true passion for education and the youth in my community. Beginning my second term as Chairman of the Education Committee for the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, I realized I was looking for an opportunity to work not just with advocacy and policy, but to be a part of starting a new option for our students.

What leadership roles have held while serving on the board?
Since transitioning from the Founding Board to Governing Board, I have the amazing opportunity to serve as the first Academic Achievement Committee Chair.

Is there anything you know now that you wish you had known before?
I thought the charter interview would be the hardest part. The “party” doesn’t start until you have money, scholars and a signed operating agreement (among a host of other things)!