University School of Jackson

USJ Board of Trustees Announces Don Roe as the New Head of School

It is with great excitement that the USJ Board of Trustees announces Don Roe as the next Head of School.


A lifelong West Tennessean, Don has been a part of the USJ community since July 2012 when he was hired as chair of the History Department where he also taught a popular AP US History Class.  Over the next few years, Don spread roots at USJ as he became the “Voice of the Bruins” for both football and basketball, starred in a school theater production, chaired a strategic planning committee, and led the school’s most recent accreditation process.


Don has also served outside USJ as an AP reader and as an SAIS accreditation team member for other SAIS schools. In 2017, he was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam to the Tennessee Historical Commission where he still serves.


In 2017, Don stepped out of the classroom and became USJ’s Middle School Director where he has led with passion, love, and integrity. In 2018, he also became Associate Head of School where he has assisted with all day-to-day operations, including: leading senior administrative staff; implementing the school’s strategic plan; preparing and overseeing the annual budget; promoting and helping to manage campus facilities and improvements; and developing policies and procedures for faculty, staff, students, and parents.


A lifelong learner, Don received his Bachelor of Science degree from Lambuth University and later his Masters in History from the University of Memphis. Since 1994, Don has taught at the middle school, the high school, and university levels almost exclusively in Jackson, Tennessee.


When meeting with the Board, Don summed up his educational philosophy as follows: “At every level of education, simply stated, the goal is to develop people. To grow children, they must be loved, engaged, and challenged consistently. Focused and energetic leadership requires modeling, inspiration, and direction.”


The Board of Trustees began this Head of School transition process in the spring of 2019, when Stuart Hirstein notified the Board that the 2019-2020 school year would be his last with USJ. He has since accepted a Head of School position with Saint Edward’s School in Vero Beach, Florida.


After speaking with multiple potential candidates and after the formal interview process by the Board’s Transition Team, it became very clear to the Board that Don was who USJ needed as its next Head of School. More than any other candidate considered by the Board, Don blended a West Tennessee background with an intimate knowledge and understanding of USJ’s values and mission.


“I am honored to be a part of USJ. It’s an exciting time to be a Bruin as we see the individual elements of our Master Plan come to life on our campus. This school plays such an important role in the West Tennessee community, and I am truly committed to the future of our school, and upholding the traditions and standards that USJ represents.” says Don Roe.


Don’s wife of 22 years Melinda is also a lifelong educator and their son Max is a 7th grader at USJ.  Don is also a long time member of First Baptist Medina where he has taught Sunday School for 15 years.


Mr. Roe will assume his role as the new Head of School on June 1, 2020.

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