Havana Middle School (HMS) started the 2013-2014 school year with a new principal.
Gadsden County native Delshauna Jackson has taken the reins of HMS following a successful tour as principal of Gretna Elementary School.
During her tenure at Gretna the school’s grades rose from a ‘C’ to an ‘A’. She said through the help of the community, the teachers, students and parents the school has sustained an ‘A’ for four years.
She was among the six principals highlighted in last week’s Gadsden County commission meeting honoring the schools in the district that made ‘A’ and ‘B’ scores on the FCAT.
Jackson has been principal at HMS for a month and said she is excited about her new job.
In a recent interview she spoke about her commitment to the school district, having chosen to come back here after college to first teach and now as a principal.
“My biggest thing is to motivate the kids,” she said. “It is not only to motivate them to come to school but to learn social skills and to have fun.”
For Jackson it is important to create a learning environment for students. She is quick to note that a learning experience has to be accomplished with a community effort, which happened at Gretna.
“We had parents, grandparents, churches and community leaders all working together,” she said.
She is working on the same philosophy at HMS.
In a recent team leadership meeting with teachers they discussed bringing back some of the things that were done at HMS when she was a student at the school.
Jackson wants to bring back such activities as Junior Beta Club and a new student council in order to get students involved in the governing issues at the school.
The school has athletic programs, she said, and there are still other activities that are being planned for students as well.
Jackson brings a record of having been a principal at ‘A’ schools after serving at the helm of Gadsden Magnet Elementary and Gretna Elementary.
From those experiences she has developed her own leadership philosophy, which is to motivate her teachers. But more importantly, she said, is to get in there and work along side the teachers and give them what they need to be successful.
“I want to support them in any area that I can possibly support them,” Jackson said.
In return from her teachers she expects hard work, dedication and to love the work.
Teaching is more than just a job, it is a passion; it takes a lot of time and for Jackson, she said, educating young people consumes her.
About the future, which includes the merger of Havana Elementary and HMS, Jackson said she thought it would be good for the elementary students to move into the planned new wing of the school.
Havana Middle School is located east of Havana on County Road 12A (Kemp Road).
The plans, she said, are that the school will become a magnet school with an emphasis on science and technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM).
The new building will start at the end of 2013 with the merger in the next school year (2014-2015).
“It is just around the corner,” Jackson said.
When asked what she wanted from people in the community, she quickly responded for them to become involved at the school in a positive way and work with their kids at home.
“We need the extra reinforcements at home,” she added. “It is going to take the involvement of the churches, community and all of us to get this school where it used to be.”
Jackson said there were a few volunteers already helping at the school, but they needed mentors to help with reading and math.
About being the principal at HMS, Jackson said she was glad to be back home.
For more information about mentoring or helping at HMS, please contact the school at 850-662-2750.