13 Sep Andy Jacks
Dr. Andy Jacks is a highly regarded school leader known for the energy and passion he brings to ensure his students feel valued in school every day. He describes his favorite and most common compliment from visitors to his school as, “It just feels different here.” Andy has been recognized with state and national awards such as School Bell Award, Professional Development Award, Virginia Principal of the Year, and Nationally Distinguished Principal.
As an elementary school principal, Andy skyrocketed student achievement and led a cultural transformation that gained local and national recognition for his students and staff, including state and local awards for performance, business partnerships, support for military-connected families, and even a school tour by the United States Secretary of Education. Andy has since become principal of a K–8 combined elementary and middle school.
As a senior fellow for the National Association of Elementary School Principals’ Centers for Advancing Leadership, Andy works to engage and support school leaders across the country through focused centers on diversity, innovation, the middle level, and women in leadership. He has served on national task forces and has shared at congressional briefings. Andy also serves on the board of directors of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia, where he organizes inclusive and sensory-friendly family events in the region.
Andy is a sought-after speaker and trainer, providing professional learning for school districts and associations. He has been featured in publications such as the Washington Post, Principal Magazine, and Education Week. He resides in Northern Virginia with his wife and three children.
Play to Win!
Schools can win or lose depending on our level of engagement and our understanding of the “game” of education. The clock is ticking so we need to make every minute count and use the best plays we have to reach every child. It’s essential to provide an inclusive culture, work for long-term goals, and continually rethink our current individual and team practices if we want to have a real chance at victory. Maximize your time and impact through feelings, fidelity, and follow through. Embrace your inner passion and find ways to make your classroom and school special. Play to win, each child, each day!
School discipline can bring out emotional and rash responses in both staff and families, so schools must be very prepared for predictable behaviors and then strategic in their responses to keep everyone focused and working together. Before we start pushing more programs and prizes, let’s proactively teach social skills and self-regulation. Incorporate ways to regularly check your students and yourselves. Create accountability systems to ensure that relationships are developed with every child, every day. Find something special in every student so they know that you want them and value them in your school.