By Jasmine Chen
After being the director of Oak Hall’s Upper School for four years, David Jackson was promoted to Assistant Head of School at the beginning of this school year. In terms of management of the school, this promotion shifted Jackson’s priority into long-term strategic planning, which includes thinking about where Oak Hall is going as a school in next five years and focusing on the school accreditation process as well. “It’s a great opportunity…and I’m excited to continue to help to serve the school in a new capacity,” Jackson said.
Jackson started his career at Oak Hall School as a Middle School teacher in 2002, after graduating from the University of Florida with bachelor’s degree in political science, history, and classical studies. He became the World Language Department Chair in 2013, then was promoted to Director of the Upper School in 2015.
Being a member of Oak Hall’s administration was not part of Jackson’s plan, until about 7 or 8 years ago. “If you were to ask me this question maybe 10 years ago, I would say no way, never gonna happen, totally not interested,” Jackson joked. When a number of people suggested he would fit well in administration, however, Jackson began contemplating the change. These suggestions inspired him in terms of career direction and future opportunities.
The biggest piece of advice that Jackson would like to give to John Perlette, the new director of the Upper School, is to always listen and hear all sides of an issue. “Aside from that, just really embrace what he’s doing, be there for the students, for the faculty, and for the parents as well, because they are all very important parts of the school community,” Jackson noted.
Perlette was promoted to Director of Upper School at the same time Jackson’s promotion occurred. He is “very happy with this career move” and “excited to be in this position working with faculty members and the students and staff and the administration,” Perlette said. This career move shifted his primary focus and has brought on more responsibilities. “Before when I was a math teacher, my primary concern was for my students in my classroom. And then, as a math teacher and coach, my primary concern then was split into two roles, where my concerns were my students in my classroom and my athletes on the track,” he said.
With his new role, Perlette acknowledges a transformation of priorities. “Now in this role, my concerns are, the people that I care about, is everybody in the building…all my faculty, all the staff members, all the students in all the classes, and all the parents that are associated with the Oak Hall Upper School,” he acknowledged.