University School of Jackson

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University School of Jackson (USJ) is a college preparatory school located in northern Jackson, Tennessee, that educates students from infancy through the 12th grade.[1] It is located at 222 McClellan Road between various pockets of new suburban neighborhoods.


Old Hickory Acade

University School of Jackson
Jackson, Tennessee
United States
Type Independent school
Established 1987
Head of school Stuart Hirstein
Faculty 100-110 full-time[2]
Enrollment Approximately 1110
Student to teacher ratio 10:1
Campus Suburban area
Color(s) Red and Columbia blue
Athletics basketball, baseball, football, soccer, tennis, golf, track and field, cross country, volleyball, cheerleading, bowling
Athletics conference TSSAA
Mascot Bruins
Accreditation SAIS
Average ACT scores 27
Upper School Director Ben Murphy
Athletic Director Jody Evans
Interim Middle School Director Jim Hardegree
Lower School Director Debbie Ford
Early Childhood Director Beth Hudson

my and Episcopal Day School began as two separate schools in 1970[3] Old Hickory Academy was an independent, non-church-related school which included primary education through a high school curriculum.[3] Episcopal Day School was a smaller, parochial school which emphasized primary education, but had begun a high school program by 1986, enrolling grades nine and ten.[4] In 1987 the two schools consolidated, forming University School of Jackson.[5]

Mission Statement[edit]

USJ’s mission statement is as follows:

We instill a passion for academic, artistic, and athletic excellence while committing to personal integrity, mutual respect, and life-long learning.

The school’s core values are: integrity, honesty, respect, responsibility, and excellence.


University School of Jackson uses a college preparatory curriculum and integrates technology in all grade levels. Students are taught on two adjacent campuses: the Lower School campus and the Middle and Upper School campus. Over 45% of the school's faculty members have advanced degrees. The school gives away over $400,000 a year in financial aid.

The Lower School accepts infants and toddlers as young as six weeks of age and students who are 2 years old by August 15 in its Junior Cubs program.[6] Grades include Infants, Toddlers, Junior Cubs, Cubs, Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and First through Fifth Grade. The curriculum is sequential, building each lesson on what students have already learned. Enrichment programs include character education, foreign language, library, music, physical education, technology, visual arts and elementary science lab.[7]

Middle School students are sixth through eighth graders. Teachers use a variety of teaching methods – from hands-on science labs and lectures to cross curriculum activities – to address the various learning styles of students. Enrichment programs include art, band, computer studies, foreign language, literature, music and physical education.[8]

Upper School students are ninth through 12th graders. In addition to college preparatory high school classes, USJ offers 15 Advanced Placement classes.[9] Since 2000, over 200 students have been named AP Scholars, and over 100 students have been recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Since 2015, over $15 million in college scholarships have been awarded. Students also can join over 20 honor societies and extra-curricular clubs.[10] The school offers two summer study abroad programs.


Stuart Hirstein is the Head of School.[10] He joined USJ in July 2013.[11]

Upper School Director Ben Murphy joined the school the following year. Other directors include Jim Hardegree (Interim Middle School), Debbie Ford (Lower School), and Beth Hudson (Early Childhood).


Lower School students join community recreation leagues. Students have physical education classes through Eighth Grade.

Between the Middle and Upper Schools, USJ offers more than 37 teams in 13 sports including baseball, basketball, cheerleading, cross country, football, golf, soccer, softball, tennis, track, and volleyball.

Jody Evans is the Athletic director at USJ. He joined the staff in 2010, and he coaches the defensive backs for the high school football team.

USJ is a member of TSSAA’s Division II. Each year, USJ teams are well represented in regional and state tournament play.[15] The school has produced over 250 TSSAA All-State Athletes.

The USJ Varsity Boys Tennis team has won seven TSSAA Team State Championships in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2016. The team has claimed four Runner-Up titles, in 2008, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Singles State Championship titles were won by Lee Taylor Walker and Colton Norton, in 2000 and 2010, respectively. The school's Doubles State Championships number five: Matt Evans & Dan Matthews in 2002, Colton Norton & Lucas Guerra in 2006, James Roland Markos & George Markos in 2013, George Markos & Cade Reasons in 2015, and George Markos & Cade Reasons again in 2016. The current coach of the USJ Varsity Boys Tennis team is Ted Measly. [14]

Fine Arts[edit]

USJ’s fine arts program begins in the Lower School with visual art and music enrichment classes. Starting in Jr. Kindergarten, classes stage annual music productions.[16]

Middle School students take classes in band or vocal music and visual art. They perform two musicals each year.

In Upper School, the fine arts curriculum includes drama, band, chorus, and visual art classes. USJ offers AP Studio Art 2-D, 3-D, and Drawing. Each year, the Upper School stages two musical productions, drama productions, band and vocal concerts, and other productions. Band students make up much of the live orchestra for musicals and have the opportunity to perform in several groups, including a jazz ensemble and pep band. Fine Arts students collaborate each year to host the school’s Arts @ the U showcase event.


  1. ^ "West Tennessee's College Preparatory School". University School of Jackson. 
  2. ^ "Faculty and Staff Overview". University School of Jackson. 
  3. ^ a b "Old Hickory Academy: 1970-1987". University School of Jackson. 
  4. ^ "Episcopal Day School: 1970-1987". University School of Jackson. 
  5. ^ "University School of Jackson, 1987+". University School of Jackson. 
  6. ^ "Admissions". University School of Jackson. 
  7. ^ "Lower School Curriculum". University School of Jackson. 
  8. ^ "Middle School Curriculum". University School of Jackson. 
  9. ^ "AP Courses". University School of Jackson. 
  10. ^ "Administration". University School of Jackson. 
  11. ^ "USJ Appoints New Head of School". WBBJTV. Feb 25, 2013.