A Teacher Who Defied the Odds is Helping his Scholars do the Same
Meet Donavan Jackson, a middle school teacher at Thomasboro Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I was once in their shoes and I’m breaking the cycle with my own family.”
Donavan Jackson, a product of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District, is now working hard as a teacher to help his scholars in the same district from which he graduated, break that cycle of poverty for themselves. “I keep it 100% with (my scholars). I tell them how I had to hustle to work on my reading, what I could have been, what I have done and why it’s important to keep learning. I make sure they know what I did to overcome living in the projects and the rough neighborhood.”
It’s this philosophy and life experience that has motivated Mr. Jackson to encourage his scholars to think beyond what they may know…to realize what is possible for their lives with hard work and grit. “My father passed away when I was 13 years old, but before he passed he influenced me on education and the importance of it.” That influence stayed with Donavan throughout his schooling and motivated him to graduate and be the first person in his family to go to college, graduate and earn a Masters degree. He attributes the seed planted by his father to help him understand what he needed to do to be successful, but relied on his mother, coaches and teachers to push him daily when those dreams he had felt hard to reach. Experiencing the powerful influence these people had on him, he knew he wanted to instill those values in the scholars who came from the same, rough Charlotte neighborhoods he grew up in.
Mr. Jackson has lived the stories so many of our scholars experience everyday. He knows what they are up against but also knows they can overcome whatever obstacles stand in their way. He admits, however, that although he had the mindset to help these scholars make the right choices, he didn’t have the skill set to execute what he knew had to be done in the classroom. “No-Nonsense Nurturer and Real Time Coaching helped me learn how to hold scholars accountable in a nurturing way. It gives me a firm position in my classroom and the students follow that. The two things I try to do every day are influence people and leave a positive mark. No-Nonsense Nurturing helps me reach that goal. I am influencing all the kids when I am a No-Nonsense Nurturer.”
Many thanks to Donavan Jackson for taking the time to open up to me and our readers about the challenges, blessings and opportunities he has experienced. Donavan is married with three daughters and believes overcoming the obstacles in his life has helped him shift his family tree. It’s an honor to work with you, Mr. Jackson!
By Carrie E. Lupoli, CT3 Associate