After 20 years in education, with 19 in magnet programs, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to be the principal of Moore Square Magnet Middle School! Since June of 2015, I have looked forward to coming to work each day to collaborate with creative and passionate colleagues on behalf of the greatest group of kids in all of Wake County. Through our exciting elective offerings and our unique access to authentic learning activities in and around downtown, every day at Moore Square is filled with cutting edge instruction, creating the joy that comes from seeing talent and intellect develop in each of our children. We are happy that you have selected Moore Square to be your school family for the middle school years.
Prior to coming to Moore Square, I had 16 years as a principal split between only two schools: eight at Underwood GT Magnet Elementary and eight at Lincoln Heights Magnet Elementary. During that time, I developed relationships with families, graduating the same 5th graders whom I had ushered into their first day of kindergarten. I believe that I do my best work in environments where I can establish and maintain close relationships with students and families. Being in schools for 8 years at a time has allowed that to happen. Being in schools that have been relatively small (never more than 600) has also allowed for close connections. When I can get to know parents, grandparents, extended family members, and students, we are able to hit the ground running when it is time to get to work. I like being accessible to students and families, and smaller schools allow me to maintain an open-door policy.
As I said, all of my experience except my very first year teaching has been in magnet schools. I am a believer in magnet programs! I have seen first-hand the confidence magnet schools cultivate when kids are given choices. Students receive such a gift when they recognize that if they happen to feel unsuccessful in one endeavor, no need to worry, there are many other avenues in life one can explore. The courage our students gain when they try new things is an amazing trait to cultivate early in life. Students learn to take things in stride. They live a well-rounded life because they've seen so many possibilities. Students leave magnet schools with a clear idea that there are many things we all have to be proud of, and they feel excited to take on the new opportunities that life has waiting for them.
I've been lucky to experience great success so far as a principal. I believe successful schools stem from recruiting and retaining the best individuals. We all have strengths; we all have things that aren't our best assets. In the schools where I have worked, I have tried to fertilize the strengths of my colleagues and give them room to grow. Where staff members needed support and encouragement, I have tried to give it honestly and deliberately. When it is time to make decisions about our school, I always bring as many minds to the table as possible. The power of many brains has always been more effective to me than one brain. After 21 years, I have seen many times how a fresh set of eyes or a fresh idea can save the day. Bringing staff together for decision-making or interviewing or problem-solving also increases the degree to which teachers and staff feel a true connection to the school. When we increase that connection, community builds. When community builds, magic happens. Because I am not a mother, mentoring teachers as a principal and seeing their leadership skills grow and blossom has been one of the most fulfilling parts of my career.
In the next ten years, I would like to continue my work creating excellent public schools through a vibrant magnet program that exemplifies the benefits of diversity and choice. Through relationships and teacher leadership, I hope to create another school that has a long waitlist! I am a product of public education, from the first public kindergarten in 1975 all the way to my doctoral degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. I am proud to be creating examples of excellence in public education so that parents around Raleigh make us their first choice. I am excited to be your principal and promise to give 100% every day to you, your child, and the teachers of our school. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this fulfilling work.
-Dr. Jackie Jordan