As we settle into the school year, slowly turning into zombies moping around from class to class, it is refreshing to see someone unfamiliar. A warm smile on a brand new face has the power to wake us from our undead state. Liz Jackson is new this year in the College Counseling department, joining Andrew Reich as the department grows.
Liz Jackson grew up in Bullis, Maryland, where she attended The Bullis School. There she played softball and soccer and loved being a part of the theater program and musicals. In school, she loved singing, dancing, and reading poetry. In middle school, she adored British sitcoms, such as Are You Being Served?, and because of these, she wanted to go to London to pursue acting. However, in high school, she wanted to become a lawyer because she “thought it might be fun to be a lawyer.” Jackson had a variety of hobbies and a love for all genres of music and poetry, which continued through college. She enjoyed finding new, “underground” musicians and frequented clubs where go-go bands would play. Jackson described go-go music as “very percussion heavy, and the bands had many different kinds of hand drums.” Her favorite go-go band was The North East Groovers, and she “would follow them until their tickets were too expensive for her and her friends to buy.” In addition to music, poetry was another one of Jackson’s hobbies. She loved to read and write poems, and even performed at slam poetry clubs.
Jackson first attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she graduated with a major in American studies, a minor in Latin American studies, and also studied school counseling management. At Williams, she was on the committee for junior advisors. The entire process of pairing students had to be kept secret, so she held meetings sometimes from 10:00 at night to 2:00 in the morning, where they would read applications. Through this, she also took part in helping Williams become more inclusive, partnering with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity. She also took part in a program called “Children and the Courts,” where she was able to listen to juvenile court cases and provide a clinical perspective on the case. Jackson describes this program as the most valuable experience she had in college, also saying that it would lead her to a career in counseling.
After Williams, she attended Harvard University, graduating with a masters in prevention science and practice. She then worked at three different charter schools—Friendship Public Charter School, Cesar Chavez Public Charter School, and Paul Public Charter School—in Washington D.C. for seven years, where she helped create college counseling programs and counseled students. One of her responsibilities was to figure out how to help students in low-income households graduate high school and succeed in competitive colleges. Jackson plans to use her experience and fresh ideas to better help the students at Collegiate.
At Collegiate, she is currently working in College Counseling, Upper School Counseling, and Responsible Citizenship. She is also a coordinator of Community Engagement Week (formerly Freshmen Service Week), has a freshman advisory, and will be part of Mosaic, assisting Mosaic adviser and Upper School Spanish teacher Liz Bowling. Her favorite thing about Collegiate so far is the “freedom with responsibility” that students have. Jackson also said she is looking forward to seeing Into the Woods and watching Cougar sports. Her love toward Collegiate is already evident, and she is very excited to continue getting to know everyone. She is caring and passionate about everything she does, so please do not be afraid to introduce yourself to Ms. Jackson.