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Photos courtesy of Shelby County Schools.
Vicki Jackson (center) stands with Kendall Williams (left) and Superintendent Randy Fuller at the Shelby County Schools Teacher of the Year Celebration on Dec. 5.
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Middle School Teachers of the Year Ashley Evans (Chelsea Middle), Christopher Horton (Montevallo Middle), Melanie Thomas (Calera Middle), Anna Miller (Helena Middle), Krista Smith (Columbiana Middle) and Vicki Jackson (Oak Mountain Middle) at the Shelby County Schools Teacher of the Year Celebration on Dec. 5.
Vicki Jackson didn’t consider herself a great math student until her ninth-grade math teacher helped the concepts click for her. Now in her 12th year of teaching, she helps do the same for her students.
“My teacher really pushed and motivated me. She took me under her wing and gave me the skills I was missing,” Jackson said of Marion Miles. “Everything started making sense, and I started helping other kids in high school with math. That’s how I ended up becoming a math teacher.”
Jackson earned her B.S. in mathematics and minor in deaf studies from the University of Montevallo. She continued her education by earning her master’s in secondary education with a concentration in math.
Jackson teaches eighth-grade Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 at Oak Mountain Middle School. She also serves on the School Leadership Team, Intervention/Advisory Action Team, is the seventh-grade math team coach, and team building coordinator for the eighth-grade White Team. She tutors students in math before and after school and also assists with robotics competitions.
Since she wasn’t always strong in math, Jackson said she believes it gives her an advantage as a teacher because she knows her students feel frustrated and defeated.
“I try to get them to push through and have perseverance and also be on the other side as their cheerleader helping them say ‘I can do this,’” she said. “We may have to do a different method, or work out problems differently for each student, but whatever I need to do, I do.”
At a celebration at OMHS Dec. 5, Jackson found out she was not only Oak Mountain Middle School Teacher of the Year, but also one of three Shelby County Teachers of the Year.
“I was the last name they called for middle school, and I was shocked.” Jackson said. “It was very humbling, because Shelby County has great teachers who are passionate and love their students. To be honored in that capacity amongst my peers and colleagues was a huge honor.”
Jackson said her students were excited for her, and some of them were featured in a video at the celebration saying things about her and how they enjoy her class and how she helps them learn.
Over the last year, Jackson has been working on earning her National Board Certification, which is an advanced professional teaching credential. She was awarded a grant from the Greater Shelby County Education Foundation for this, and is working on her last component.
“It’s all about enhancing your practice,” she said. “Knowing your students, knowing how to instruct content, how to collaborate with parents and community leaders and learning different ways to meet every learner. It’s a difficult and time-consuming process, but very well worth it.”
Jackson has plans to obtain an administrative degree. She said she would love to support other teachers in some capacity, but for now, she still wants to be in the classroom.
“I’m very grateful,” she said. “I’m around wonderful people all day long. I’m at a great school, teaching in a great school system and get to work with great administrators and teachers. I’m very thankful and blessed to be in this position.”