Henrico’s Top Teachers – Shahidah Jackson
Wilder M.S., physical education
Shahidah Jackson’s smile has been brightening Wilder Middle School since the school opened its doors for the first time in 1998.
Jackson is a physical education teacher at the school, but her influence extends well beyond gymnasium walls and playing fields, according to those who know her.
“She is always willing to help every student and teacher with any problems or needs that may arise,” a colleague wrote in a nomination letter. “Any time you walk by this teacher, she finds a way to put a smile on your face.”
Jackson fills her days with school-related activities that extend well beyond class hours.
As a cheerleading coach during nearly her entire tenure at Wilder, she has worked with students after school and has helped provide an outlet for some who might have chosen the wrong path otherwise.
“During tryouts, she makes a point to have someone on her team that some would consider ‘troublesome’ in school, and to keep this student on the right path throughout the school year,” a nominator wrote. “I feel that is tremendous dedication to the students, for many teachers try to avoid these students in our school. But Mrs. Jackson always finds the good in all of the students at Wilder.
“She tries to provide her cheerleaders with as many opportunities as possible by going out of her way to take these students to competitions and to provide team bonding times, even if it means opening the doors to her home.”
Jackson co-founded the school’s C.L.A.S.S.Y. organization (Creating Ladylike Attitudes for Sophistication and Success) for teenage girls. The club provides mentoring and life skills for its participants and is designed to develop strong citizens in and out of the classroom, while showing participants how they can have a positive impact on the community.
"At this level with students, all they need is someone that will show them attention and keep them motivated, grounded and give them encouragement to stay focused," Jackson says. "So each year, I challenge myself to help out as many students as possible. I feel rewarded each day when I enter the building and I am greeted with hugs and smiles. [It feels great] to know that the students feel that I genuinely care and love each one of them, and I get the same in return."
Jackson also is a frequent volunteer at other school events and serves as a sponsor for other clubs at Wilder as well.
In addition to her broad range of involvement at the school, colleagues also describe Jackson as an active volunteer away from school in the Eastern Henrico community.
“Everyone knows this teacher for her generosity, caring and relentless unselfish attitude,” one wrote. “Any time a student, teacher, or administration needs something, she never fails and is always there wherever needed.”
Reynolds Community College will host Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquale Sept. 28 as he shares his presentation “Art Talk, Why Art Matters” from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Conference Center Gallery of the Workforce Development and Conference Center on the Parham Road Campus, located at 1651 E. Parham Road in Richmond. This event is free and open to the public. > Read more.
The Children's Clothing Closet at Highland Springs United Methodist Church will be open Saturday, Aug. 27 and Tuesday, Aug. 30 to provide free new or nearly new children's clothing for families in need, prior to the start of the school year. The Clothing Closet will be open from 10 a.m. to noon both days. The church is located at 22 North Holly Avenue. > Read more.
Three local churches are holding events on Saturday: A Fall Veterans and Community Health Fair and Blood Drive at Antioch Baptist Church in Varina; a Fall Children’s Consignment Sale at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church in the West End; and a Community Day event at Fair Oaks Baptist Church in Highland Springs. Two events are also planned in Henrico for history buffs: A tour of New Market Heights and a commemoration of the battle for Fort Harrison. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.
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