Jackson Academy (Mississippi)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Jackson Academy
Motto Integrity, Achievement, Growth.
Established 1959
Type Primary and Secondary Independent College Preparatory Schooll
Affiliations NAIS, SACS, SAIS, and the MAIS
President Peter Jernberg
Headmaster Pat Taylor
Founder Loyal M Bearss
Students 1,450
Grades K3 through 12
Location 4908 Ridgewood Road,
Jackson, Mississippi,
Coordinates 32°21′45″N 90°8′28″W / 32.36250°N 90.14111°W / 32.36250; -90.14111Coordinates: 32°21′45″N 90°8′28″W / 32.36250°N 90.14111°W / 32.36250; -90.14111
Accreditation SACS,[1] SAIS
Colors Navy, Silver and White
Athletics Baseball, Basketball, Cross-Country, Dance/Cheer, Football, Golf, Soccer, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Track, Volleyball
Nickname JA
Mascot Raiders
Yearbook Reflections
President Elect Cliff Kling
Website Official Website

Jackson Academy is an independent, co-educational college preparatory school in Jackson, Mississippi. Jackson Academy was founded in 1959 on the basis of teaching children phonetic reading. Today, the campus is thriving with nearly 1450 students in grades K3 through 12. The school is a member of the prestigious Cum Laude Society Academic Honorary, one of only four charter members in Mississippi.

JA is the largest independent school in Mississippi.[2] Its mission is "to serve students who aspire to higher education and lifelong learning in a balanced and nurturing environment in which each student is valued and is challenged to become a responsible citizen who can achieve his or her intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical potential."


Jackson Academy is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Affiliations include the National Association of Independent Schools, the Cum Laude Society, the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools and the Jackson Area Association of Independent Schools.

JA strives to enable young people to grow and mature in a healthy, nurturing environment from the child’s earliest years to full maturation as graduating seniors. Experienced teachers, coaches, staff, and personnel take as their personal mission the appreciation of each student’s intellectual, spiritual, emotional, social, and physical potential.


The Mississippi State Times announced the opening of a new academy in Jackson, Mississippi, set to debut in early September 1959. The name of the new school was to be Jackson Academy. The idea for the new school developed during the previous year when ten parents of first grade-aged children got together and decided how their children's first grade instructor, Mr. Loyal Bearss, and his curriculum should be extended through all of elementary school.

Jackson Academy, led by founder and headmaster Loyal M Bearss, was to have its foundation on the old educational standards of reading, writing, and arithmetic. The curriculum was both classical and experimental – classical in that the textbooks were taken from the McGuffey Readers and Webster’s Bluebacked Speller; experimental in resurrecting the concept of teaching reading through phonics rather than sight and memorization of words.

In 1959, Jackson Academy began operation in a renovated residence on Northview Drive in Jackson, MS. The school included grades primer through fourth grade. By 1963 Jackson Academy had grown to some 103 students, after which the JA Corporation purchased 5.5 acres on Ridgewood Road where main campus is located today.


Peter Jernberg was Jackson Academy's headmaster from July 1988 until November 2005, when he became the school's president. Jernberg also serves on the Board for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is the past president of the Delta State University Foundation and the Southern Association of Independent Schools. Currently, Jernberg's primary role is to guide the school through its recently announced master plan [1], with the purpose of revolutionizing the campus and the community.

In December 2006, Pat Taylor was named headmaster. Taylor came to Jackson Academy from Mobile, AL, where he served as Assistant Headmaster at St. Paul's Episcopal School.

Senior Leadership[edit]

Position Name
President Peter Jernberg
Headmaster Pat Taylor
President Elect Cliff Kling
Dean of Students, Associate Headmaster Bill Bunch
Preschool Dean Tara McDaniel
Lower School Dean Sarah Love
Middle School Dean Matt Morgan
Upper School Dean Steven McCartney
Dean of Technology Eddie Wettach
Athletic Directory Bobby West
Assistant Athletic Director David Sykes
Director of Finance & Operations Angie Antici
Director of Admissions DeLeslie Porch
Director of Development Tim McWilliams
Director of Marketing & Communications Patti Wade
Chaplain John Hugh Tate
Coordinator of Student Services Paula Pratt
Coordinator of Studies Beth Murray Wilson


Jackson Academy is currently involved in the most transformational expansion in the school’s history. According to the school's website, the Bold Vision, Bright Future master plan has been divided into two phases with costs reaching an estimated $17.5M:

Phase One: JA is currently at the midpoint of Phase One. Phase One includes the following: a performing arts center for school programs, theatrical productions and concerts as well as classroom and rehearsal space for choral music and a black-box theater. The new Performing Arts Center was dedicated and opened in early 2010; a student commons with dining facilities; student lounges and meeting spaces accessible to all grades; an enclosed atrium connecting the student commons to the performing arts center; an academic lawn along Ridgewood Road made possible by moving parking and traffic circulation behind the buildings; a new parking lot creating 150 additional spaces as well as improved traffic flow with a quarter mile of queuing space for cars on campus and off public roads; and a new 2,000 seat gymnasium adjacent to the secondary school gym.

Phase Two: Phase Two will include replacement of long-serving facilities with a new, state-of-the-art junior/senior high building to serve grades 7-12; and a new, expanded elementary building.


Jackson Academy also excels in developing successful student athletes. JA student athletes regularly compete in volleyball, football, soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming, dance, cheer, golf, softball, cross-country, track, and baseball. In 2010, student athlete Davis Rogers was named one of 6 male national finalists for the Wendy's High School Heisman Award after being selected from approximately 55,000 national applicants.[3]

Varsity Football[edit]

David Sykes completed his third season as head coach of the Varsity Raiders with his third consecutive MAIS AAA Division I Championship as head coach. Coach Sykes was the Head Coach of the Washington School Generals from 1986 to 1999. His teams won 101 games during that span and during a 5-year span his teams posted 28 consecutive North AAA wins. He was named "Coach of the Year" four times. His most recent job was the Head Coach for the Junior High Raiders where he delivered a perfect 31-0 record in his four seasons. His overall coaching record at Jackson Academy currently stands at 68-2. Sykes replaced Joey Hawkins who finished with four state championships and an overall record of 87-30. He won the Metro Jackson Coach of the Year for the 2005 campaign. To date, Jackson Academy and Madison Central hold the record for the most coaches named to the All-Metro team at three, respectively.

Varsity Basketball[edit]

Jan Sojourner, head basketball coach of the Varsity Lady Raiders, ranks as one of the winningest Mississippi high school girls basketball coaches in history. After her first year of coaching at Jackson Academy she has posted a winning record each of her over 30 seasons, with 4 Overall State Championships and numerous divisional championships.

Bill Ball, head basketball coach of the Varsity Raiders, carries a 277-83 record in his first 10 years at Jackson Academy with 2 Overall State Championships.

Varsity Baseball[edit]

Jay Powell, with a record of 91-49 as head baseball coach, led the Varsity Raiders to their first State Championship in 9 years. The 2011 team broke numerous personal and team records on their way to winning the Championship including most runs scored in a season (363), most strikeouts thrown (310), most home runs (34), most wins (29).

State championships[edit]


  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011


  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1992
  • 1999
  • 2002
  • 2011

Boy's basketball overall titles[edit]

  • 1994
  • 1995
  • 2004
  • 2006

Girl's basketball overall titles[edit]

  • 1984
  • 1992
  • 1996
  • 2001
  • 2002

Athletics on the radio[edit]

Jackson Academy is one of a few high schools, independent or public, to have all of its football, boys basketball, girls basketball, and baseball games broadcast via radio in the Jackson, Mississippi area. Bryan Eubank has been the voice of the Raiders in some capacity since 2000, and has called the capture of 9 MPSA State Championships. Bryan spent 2005–2007 as the voice of the Mississippi Braves before returning to call all three major sports for the Raiders in the fall of 2007.

Technology - iLearn[edit]

Jackson Academy Tech Center Hours: M-F 7:30AM - 3:30PM

Students at Jackson Academy have completed the first school year in an all-Apple device environment that complements teaching and learning approaches designed for student success in the 21st century. Jackson Academy is the only school in the Southeast offering devices for each student in kindergarten to twelfth grade through the Apple one-to-one program.

The school issued Apple devices to all students at the start of the academic year and has incorporated the new technology and collaborative learning into the curriculum with positive results. Students in fifth through twelfth grade were each issued a Macbook Air, while first through fourth grade students have iPads and kindergarten students use the iPod Touch.


Jackson Academy’s youngest Raiders will graduate in just fourteen years. While that may seem like a long time from now, their educational journey, now just beginning, will greatly influence their future in a world that is different from the one that most of our graduates grew up in. What skills will a student need in ten, fifteen, even twenty years from now? We cannot know exactly, but we can predict that the world will change significantly, as it has in the past twenty years. Consequently, a student’s education will change as well.

Academics has always been a very important aspect of Jackson Academy, and academics is still at the forefront of the current strategic plan. The JA leadership believes that students need the core foundation of knowledge that has been taught at JA since its inception as well as skills that will prepare them for 21st Century citizenship. These skills include creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration. While these skills are not new, they are in ever-increasing demand in a world that is more digital and more globally connected. Technology has evolved into a tool for fostering these 21st century skills.

Recognizing the need to prepare our students for a changing world, the JA Board of Trustees and the administration have begun to create a digital learning environment for all students. The transformation will take several years to accomplish. The strength of the JA faculty will be supplemented by a more student-centered learning environment. Teachers will mix traditional teaching methods with project- and inquiry-based learning. This mix will allow teachers to work more closely with students on an individual and small-group basis. It will enable learning to take place outside the classroom as well as in it.

To implement our goals, we are establishing a 1:1 technology initiative. We have partnered with Apple, Inc. to create this digital learning environment, which we are calling iLearn. Devices will be issued to all students for the beginning of the 2012-2013 school year.

Jackson Academy Technology Plan 2010-15

Jackson Academy - Beginning an Apple 1:1 Program


After careful study and research, we believe that all students in a class utilizing an identical device facilitates a far superior learning environment to one where students have a hodge-podge of various devices, platforms and software programs. A goal for our technology initiative is that the devices fade into the background so that the focus is on teaching and learning, not a device. We believe this goal can best be reached when all students are working from one identical, coherent platform. To that end, we have chosen Apple devices because they offer unparalleled benefits for education. Our teachers’ long-term use of Macbooks for the last three years and our pilot device program have confirmed the benefits of Apple devices for education.

Because these devices will be used as tools to facilitate enhanced teaching and learning, different devices will be used at different grade levels, depending on the needs of the students and the capabilities of each device.

iPads at JA Tech Center


All full day Kindergarten students will be issued an 8GB iPod Touch for use at school. The iPod represents a great medium for students with small hands and is backed by the App Store, which contains thousands of educational apps.

Tech Specs: 8GB 3.5″ Multi-Touch Display Video recording up to HD (720p) Still photos up to 960×640 resolution Wireless 802.11b/g/n 7 hour battery (video), 40 hour (music) Weighs 3.56 ounces

Lower School[edit]

All students in grades 1st through 4th will be issued an iPad 2 for use at school. The iPad 2 has a large number of educational apps and is much liked because it offers a wealth of information in an elegant and accessible format.

Macbook Airs ready for deployment.

Tech Specs: 16 GB iPad 2 9.7″ Multi-Touch Display Video recording up to HD (720p) Still photos up to 960×640 resolution Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n 10 hour battery Weighs 1.33 pounds

Middle & Upper School[edit]

All students in grades 5th-12th will be issued a 13″ Macbook Air. The Macbook Air offers flexibility and the most capability for the creation of content in the form of documents, slide presentations, videos, and podcasts.

Tech Specs: 13.3-inch high-resolution LED-backlit glossy widescreen display 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 with 3MB shared L3 cache 2GB RAM (1333 MHz DDR3 onboard memory) 64GB flash storage 7 hour battery Weighs 2.38 pounds

Tech Center[edit]

Jackson Academy’s Tech Center construction completed in July 2012. Below are images of the JA Tech Center. Construction photos can be found by clicking here.

The Tech Center’s primary functions are support and professional development. In the Tech Center students bring their devices in order to get support with software or hardware. Jackson Academy is able to do any repairs to Apple devices in-house. Teachers will often come to the Tech Center to get help as well. Using the three LCD screens, teachers and technology personnel can use the Tech Center as a professional development meeting area.


Images is a publication of fiction, nonfiction, poems and art by Jackson Academy students. The publication has won the Gold Crown, the highest award bestowed by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association; no other high school publication in the state of Mississippi has received this award. Images also has won the Highest Award by the National Council of Teachers of English.


  1. ^ Institution Summary, AdvancED, Retrieved 2012-07-10
  2. ^ "Bunting and Lyon's private school directory". Comprehensive Directory of Private Schools. 
  3. ^ "Wendy's High School Heisman". 2010 National Finalists.