University School of Jackson

Faculty & Staff

Stuart Hirstein

Stuart Hirstein

Head of School

731-664-0812, ext. 120

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Stuart Hirstein officially became a part of USJ on July 1, 2013. He is an experienced educator who spent the last seven years working at an independent school in Hawaii.  Since 2005, Hirstein has been associate headmaster at Island Pacific Academy, an independent, pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade school with 650 students in Kapolei, Hawaii. He served as the institution’s chief operating officer and chief financial officer, was responsible for the school’s day-to-day operations, and was chief mediator for employee and parent issues. He also served as the school’s academic department chair and was responsible for recruiting faculty and... Read More
Melissa Zerfoss

Melissa Zerfoss

Assistant to the Head of School and Director of Summer Programs

731-664-0812 ext. 146

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Melissa Zerfoss received a bachelor of business administration degree in management from the University of Mississippi. She has worked for many years as a Human Resources Administrator for several Fortune 500 companies, such as Georgia Pacific and Toro. She also has worked in office administration for the City of Olympia, Washington. “My goal in this position is to work hard to build a productive and positive relationship with each student, parent, faculty, and staff member.” She and her husband, Matt, a1990 USJ graduate, have two sons, Nick and Zach. Read More
Benjamin Murphy

Benjamin Murphy

Upper School Director

731-664-0812, ext. 122

731-660-1447

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Benjamin Murphy is a veteran educator who is committed to students and their education, and he wants them to take responsibility for their learning. Murphy, who joined USJ in July 2014, said he was impressed with the focus and dedication among teachers, administrators, and students. “I really like the atmosphere and the energy at USJ. Everyone has a definite sense of purpose.” He has a bachelor’s degree in history and German from the University of Notre Dame and a master's degree in history from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Murphy came to USJ from Island... Read More
Jim Hardegree

Jim Hardegree

Dean of Students, Football Defensive Coordinator

[email protected]

Kim Rainey

Kim Rainey

Upper School Assistant

731-660-1447

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Don Roe

Don Roe

MIddle School Director

[email protected]

Becky Baskin

Becky Baskin

Middle School Assistant

731-660-2110

[email protected]

Becky Baskin, Middle School Secretary, graduated from ECS and attended the University of Memphis. Becky and her family are from Germantown, Tennessee and moved to Jackson in 1997. Read More
Louise Dunn

Louise Dunn

Lower School Director

731-668-8401, ext. 102

731-668-6910

[email protected]

Holly Stroup

Holly Stroup

Assistant Lower School Director and Early Childhood Coordinator

[email protected]

Lisa Cates

Lisa Cates

Lower School Secretary

731-668-8401 ext.107

[email protected]

Lisa Cates, Lower School Secretary, graduated from North Side High School and attended West Tennessee Business College. She joined the staff at Old Hickory Academy (OHA) as the Upper School Secretary in the Fall of 1984. After the merger of OHA and EDS to form USJ, she later became the Secretary at the Lower School. Mrs. Cates and her husband, Robert, have one child at USJ, Carrie, in the eighth grade. She has two children who graduated from USJ. Jennifer Cash Biggs, class of 1993, who lives in Hawaii with her husband, Chris, and their two sons; and Russ Cash, class of 1998,... Read More
Sylvia Bell

Sylvia Bell

Lower School Receptionist

731-668-8401

731-668-6910

[email protected]

Sylvia Bell is the Receptionist for the Lower School. She has worked for more than 20 years at the Lower School. A graduate of South Side High School, Mrs. Bell received her bachelor's degree from Union University. She also did graduate work at the University of Memphis. Before working at USJ, Mrs. Bell taught language arts and was senior advisor at Medina High School in Gibson County. She and Gerald, her husband, have one child Gerard, who is a graduate of USJ. Read More
Susan Bond

Susan Bond

Accounts Payable

731.664.0812

[email protected]

Mark Burden

Mark Burden

Chief Financial Officer

731-664-0812 ext. 116

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Mark Burden, a certified public accountant with 25 years of experience in accounting and regulatory leadership, joined USJ as chief financial officer in July 2014. Since 1997, Burden served as director of Accounting and Regulatory Affairs at the Carroll County Electrical Department where he managed customer service, IT, accounting, billing, and collections. He also managed savings investments of $1 million during a seven-year period for future capital projects while enhancing employee benefits. He became a certified public accountant in 1992 and worked as an analyst for the Tennessee Public Service Commission until he joined Carroll County. Before that, he was a credit manager for Shaw... Read More
Lori Howell

Lori Howell

College Advising Assistant

731-664-0812 ext. 153

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Jody Evans

Jody Evans

Athletic Director, Head MS Football Coach

731-664-0812 ext. 117

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Jody Evans received his bachelor degree in education from the University of Alabama. He has been an assistant football coach at UT-Martin, Northeast Louisiana University and Tuscaloosa County High School in Alabama. He also has worked in the medical sales field for an orthopedic company. His wife, Paige, works at USJ as a Lower School assistant. Their children both attend USJ; Jackson is in sixth grade, and Hollin is in fifth. Jody likes the family-like environment among the USJ faculty, staff, and coaches, as well as the traditions established. "It is my philosophy to ensure that I do all I... Read More
Jack Peel

Jack Peel

Facilities Director, US Baseball Coach

[email protected]

Jack Peel, facilities director, is the varsity baseball coach. In his first year of coaching at USJ, the baseball team won a state championship. Peel, the former University of Memphis baseball standout, most recently served as the Director of Football Operations at Arkansas State University. At ASU, he helped guide the football team to the 2011 Sun Belt Conference Championship and to the 2012 GoDaddy.com Bowl. In addition to his work with the ASU football program, Peel has coached on the collegiate level for 12 years including stops at the University of Memphis, Lyon College, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Lambuth University. While... Read More
San Pearson

San Pearson

Front Desk Receptionist

731-664-0812

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Cathy Garrett

Cathy Garrett

Assistant Director of Development, Director of Alumni Relations

731-664-0812 ext. 123

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Cathy moved to Jackson in 1990 to accept the position of Market Development Director with The Jackson Sun, where she worked for 25 years. She and her husband, Charlie, have two children, Anna and Alex, both of whom are USJ graduates. Cathy is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in journalism with a public relations concentration. Cathy is a graduate of Leadership Jackson and has served on the Leadership Jackson Board of Directors. She was the recipient of the Harbert Alexander Award for Servant Leadership in 2004. She also served on the... Read More
Carol Ryan

Carol Ryan

Director of College Advising

731-664-0812 ext. 152

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Tammy Smith

Tammy Smith

Accounts Receivable Coordinator

731-664-0812

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Tammy has been at USJ since 2004 when the lunch debit card system was implemented. She is married with two grown children and two grandchildren. Read More
Shannon Whisenant

Shannon Whisenant

Assistant Director of College Advising, 6th Grade Intro to Foreign Language

731-664-0812 ext. 154

731-664-5046

[email protected]

Faith Dixon

Faith Dixon

Director of After School Care & Camp Bruins

731-467-1298

731-668-6910

[email protected]

Faith has been a part of the USJ family for almost 6 years. She served as the assistant director of the After School Care program for 2 years before becoming the Director in Fall 2010. Faith also serves as our Camp Bruins director.  Faith has spent the last 20 years working in her field. Before joining us here at USJ, Faith spent seven years teaching in the South Pacific. Read More
Laura Moore

Laura Moore

Director of Admissions

731-660-1692

731-668-6910

[email protected]

Laura Moore has been an educator for over 20 years, and she is in her fifteenth year at USJ. She has taught fourth grade, second grade, and was also the School Counselor at the Lower School. Mrs. Moore has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of Mississippi and a Master's of Education with a License in School Counseling from Freed-Hardeman University.  Outside of the classroom, she enjoys spending time with her family. She and her husband, Baker, have two children. Walker is in tenth grade at USJ,... Read More
Pam Stanfield

Pam Stanfield

Director of Community Outreach

731-668-8401

731-668-6910

[email protected]

Russ Ellis

Russ Ellis

Chief Development Officer

[email protected]

Christy Glenn

Christy Glenn

Academic Center Director

[email protected]

Kyle Hopper

Kyle Hopper

Technology

[email protected]

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