North Woodside’s neighborhood school, Woodlin Elementary, welcomed Craig O. Jackson as its new principal this fall.
Mr. Jackson has worked in education for over 20 years. Most recently, he was principal intern at Cannon Road Elementary School in Silver Spring. He also served as assistant principal at Dr. Sally K. Ride Elementary School, assistant school administrator at Sligo Middle School, technology teacher at John F. Kennedy High School and as a health and physical education teacher in the DC Public Schools system.
Though he has worked in both middle and high schools, Mr. Jackson says he was drawn to elementary school administration because, “You can have that first crack at getting kids to love school.” He is focused on meeting each child where he or she is, he says, and doing what is needed to move that child forward. Since so many of Woodlin’ s children are beyond school ready when they enter kindergarten, Mr. Jackson will offer more enrichment and acceleration opportunities for kids who need more challenges.
The members of the Woodlin interview panel selected Mr. Jackson as principal, in part, because they were impressed with his track record of building relationships and collaborating with key stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers and community members. For example, during his tenure at Cannon Road, Mr. Jackson created a community partnership with senior citizens in the neighborhood, who became regular volunteers in the school’s classrooms.
Mr. Jackson is getting to know Woodlin’s Parent Teacher Association and says he is impressed. He is working closely with PTA leadership to determine where the administration and parent leaders can best focus their advocacy and school improvement efforts. Above all, he says it is important to him that the administration and the PTA stay in close communication and send unified messages.
Mr. Jackson and his wife have children ages 16, 14 and 2. They live just over the border in Washington, D.C. He grew up as a student in Montgomery County schools.