University School of Jackson


Headnotes: Reality on the Front Lines


We live in divisive times, and there are many issues and forces at play that amplify these divisions. Unfortunately, it is often easy to allow ourselves to get caught up and taken for a ride via our mass culture, as we are exposed daily to the dull discourse and predictable talking points that media outlets, political interest groups, and Facebook provide. Beneath the banal banter of our media, daily crime reports, and political infighting, however, real accomplishment occurs that often gets overlooked.   Daily life in the real world consists of worthwhile work that brings tangible results to people&rsquo Read More

Headnotes: Mission


September 1, 2021   Greetings USJ Families,   We strive for intentionality in being a mission-based institution. At almost every meeting and professional development session, the idea of mission is mentioned and questions are raised about how the issue we are addressing applies to our mission as a school. These conversations often make reference to the “three pillars” of the USJ mission:   “We instill a passion for academic, artistic, and athletic excellence while committing to personal integrity, mutual respect, and lifelong learning.”   When we mention the pillars, we are referencing the Read More

Headnotes: Tested


Headnotes: Tested A few years ago, a friend and I planned to run a half marathon. We set goals, trained accordingly, and were ready to go on race day. On that cool, perfect for running April morning, we came out of the chute faster than usual and were “banking” time and feeling great, strengthened by the wind at our collective backs. As we hit mile six, still rolling and way ahead of our goal pace, I had a sense things may be going just a little too perfectly. I shared what would turn out to be an apt Read More

Headnotes: Tuition Truths


Tuition Truths I will admit I enjoyed reading the responses from our recent surveys, as it felt great to read parents rave about our committed and caring faculty, the school's response to Covid-19, and the improvements being made to the campus and the USJ experience. And while I don't particularly enjoy pain, I am always open to improvement personally and professionally, and I know that I, in my fiftieth year, and USJ, in its fifty-first, remain works in progress. Thus the critical comments were welcomed as well. One common concern raised about our school was the price tag. Read More

Headnotes: Pandemic Leadership


  November 2, 2020   Greetings USJ Families,   Did I mention that I love baseball? As a student and teacher of American history, I appreciate it as a quintessentially American invention and activity. I really appreciate this Gerald Early quote:   "There are only three things that America will be remembered for 2000 years from now when they study this civilization: The Constitution, Jazz music, and Baseball. These are the three most beautiful things this culture's ever created."   Baseball is traditional. It brings back so many memories as it has been such a constant in my life. My friendships, family Read More

USJ Hold First Outdoor Graduation Ceremony


The University School of Jackson held their first outdoor commencement ceremony on Kirkland Field in Carlock Stadium this past Saturday, May 30, at 9: 00 a.m. The 68 members of the Class of 2020 were joined by USJ faculty and staff, plus a limited number of family and friends to allow for social distancing.    The Class of 2020 found their time together cut short by this global pandemic, and they completed their senior year as part of USJ’s new Online Academy. Their ability to adapt to this change and continue the pursuit of their goals, will serve them well as they Read More

Margaret Livingston named New Middle School Director


Margaret Livingston has been named University School of Jackson's Middle School Director effective July 1, replacing Don Roe, who will be assuming his new role as the Head of School on June 1.    Mrs. Livingston most recently held the positions of Learning Coach and English Department Chair for South Side High School. She has experience with curriculum design and serves as a faculty mentor assisting her peers to improve best teacher practices. She is currently on the School Improvement Planning Committee and serves as a District-wide Literacy Council Member. In 2020, Livingston was named the "South Side High School Teacher Read More

Jim Hardegree Named Associate Head of School, Dean of Students


It is with great honor that the University School of Jackson announces the appointment of Mr. Jim Hardegree as our Associate Head of School, Dean of Students effective July 1, 2020. “Mr. Hardegree brings with him a tremendous amount of respect and trust, not only from me, but by our entire USJ community, which has been earned through years of service to our families in many important administrative roles,” says Associate Head of School Don Roe. “Jim currently serves as Dean of Students and will continue in this role along with football coaching duties. He also has experience as Read More

Lauren Yancey named Assistant Director of the Jones Academic Center


The University School of Jackson is pleased to announce the promotion of Lauren Yancey to Assistant Director of the Camille and Ralph Jones Academic Center (JAC). Lauren will assist the JAC Director, Christy Glenn, in the day to day operation of the center and with the instruction of qualifying USJ students.    The Camille and Ralph Jones Academic Center services assist the University School of Jackson community in maintaining a standard of excellence in USJ's highly competitive academic atmosphere. Academic support services for qualifying students range from managing and updating appropriate classroom accommodations to temporary support, in the Read More

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 Read More

Two USJ Seniors Recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program


Two USJ Seniors, Elisa Kapunan and Anika Mahajan, have been recognized as Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Approximately 16,000 students in the nation received Semifinalist recognition last week out of over 1.5 million entrants. The Semifinalist pool represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. Only two students from Jackson were recognized, and both are seniors at USJ.   The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. Students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen. Read More

Faculty Spotlight: Tina Plunk


Faculty Spotlight: Tina Plunk This year, Tina Plunk joins the University School of Jackson faculty with over 30 years of experience teaching and will serve as the Upper School Math Department Chair. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a Master of Arts in Teaching with a focus on Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Memphis. She has experience teaching every level of math including; Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Algebra 3 (Dual Enrollment College Algebra), Trigonometry, Precalculus, and Physics.   Tina is married to Randy Plunk, and they live in Bolivar, TN. They have two sons, Jake and Clint, Read More

Faculty Spotlight: Jimmy Glosson


Faculty Spotlight: Jimmy Glosson Jimmy Glosson, a.k.a. Señor Glosson, is entering his 23rd year of service at University School of Jackson, where he is Chair of World Languages and Cultures and leads study abroad programs to Costa Rica and Spain. He holds a BA in Spanish from the University of Memphis, an MAEd in Instruction/Curriculum and Spanish from Union University, and has done additional graduate work at the University of Memphis and the University of Texas. He has taught AP Spanish Language and Culture for 13 years, during the last 10 of which 100% of his students Read More

USJ Middle School Math Team participated in the UTM Middle School Math Competition


The USJ Middle School Math Teams participated in the 2019 Middle School Mathematics Contest held at the University of Tennessee at Martin on Thursday, April 11. There were approximately 240 middle school students from thirteen schools in the Memphis and West Tennessee area competing for math honors. Team members representing USJ for each grade were: 6th grade - Catherine Cheng, Winn Crook, Max Kilburn, Lidiah Mahalati, Dhruv Patel and Max Roe 7th grade - Hayes Carney, Chester Evans, Andrew Lawrence, Kendall Morris and Ellie Belle Weaver 8th grade - Zainab Baba, Ijeoma Oleru, Anderson Preston, Abe Stonecipher, Owen Stonecipher and Lilly Kate Varino. Read More

33 Members Inducted Into The National Honor Society


On March 7, USJ inducted 33 new members into the National Honor Society. The purpose of the National Honor Society is to create enthusiasm for scholarship, promote leadership, and to develop character in our students. Congratulations to all of our new 2019 NHS Inductees!   New Members: Rachel Akin Emmanuela Alexandre Amar Boporai Jenna Box Luke Buchanan Reagan Carney Sydney Fesmire Emily Hailey Sarah Hanna Landon Hooper Aliza Horn Maddie Jones Livvie Leeper Meg Miller Lisa Nnaji Baker Northern Ben Northern Esosa Odeh Ikenna Oleru Ethan Persons Jackson Prince Emma Richards Kizer Robertson Channing Sellers Sydney Sellers Andrew Smith Mali Strong Savannah Tabor Read More

USJ Student Named National Geographic GeoBee Tennessee State Competition Semifinalist by National Geographic Society


Chester Evans, 7th Grade
USJ seventh grader Chester Evans has been notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee Tennessee State Competition. The contest will be held at Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN on Friday, March 29, 2019. This is the second level of the National Geographic GeoBee competition, which is now in its 31st year. School GeoBees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took an online qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The Read More

New Members inducted into the National English Honor Society


Today we inducted 18 new members in the National English Honor Society (NEHS). Membership is an honor bestowed on students selected for their accomplishments in the field of English and in overall academic achievement.   New Members: Rachel Akin Emma Alexandre Amar Boparai Reagan Carney Sydney Fesmire Sarah Hanna Landon Hooper Hailey Houston Maddie Jones Lisa Nnaji Ethan Persons Kizer Robertson Sydney Sellers Mali Strong Savannah Tabor Mohid Tanveer Caleb Watlington Mary Helen Woods Read More

USJ Announces David Suber as new Upper School Director


The University School of Jackson is pleased to announce David Suber as the new Upper School Director. He will begin his new role on July 1, 2019. Mr. Suber is currently the Upper and Middle School Director of Lowcountry Preparatory School in Pawleys Island, SC.   Mr. Suber received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina and went on to attend Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina where he received his master’s in Secondary English Education.   “I am thrilled to welcome David to our USJ family,” says Head Read More

Don Roe named Associate Head of School, Middle School Director


It is with great pleasure that the University School of Jackson announces the appointment of Mr. Don Roe as our Associate Head of School, Middle School Director. As the Associate Head of School, Don will work closely with our Head of School, Stuart Hirstein, to oversee the wellbeing of USJ and our community. Don will play a significant role in the life of our school and will be deeply involved in all aspects of day-to-day operations. Don has proven himself as a leader and has the personal qualities, integrity, and skillset to add tremendous value to USJ in this new Read More

USJ Lower School Students Participate in National Anthem Project


On Friday, September 14, 2018, the University School of Jackson Lower School students participated in The National Anthem Project. Classes lined up by grade level as they faced the front of the school to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” for the 204th anniversary of the U.S. national anthem.   Members of the fifth-grade class spoke about the happenings of the Battle of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, which occurred September 13 -14, 1814, near Baltimore. This was where Francis Scott Key was when the battle ended, and he penned the famous poem we use today as our national anthem. The National Read More

Library Renovation Project


After months of designing, planning, and preparation, the Mary Frances Campbell Library is of cially open and fully functional for our Middle and Upper School students. “This renovation project and idea started after numerous meetings with students in which they communicated a need for a place where they could study in a comfortable setting,” says Stuart Hirstein, Head of School. “I think it is critical to our school that we create inspiring spaces where kids can interact with one another while studying. I wish to thank all of the donors who made this possible as well as Read More

Three USJ Students Named “Top 100 Readers”


Sunday, August 12, was a big day for three of our students.  The First Lady of Tennessee Chrissy Haslam as part of her literacy initiative for TN had challenged all TN students to read over the summer for at least 20 minutes a day. Students were then asked to send the Governor's Mansion their reading logs for the summer and then from those many students who submitted their name 100 students from across the state were selected to attend a dinner at the Governor's Mansion.  Parvan Nerwal, Emily and Tucker Davenport were honored to be part of this motivated Read More

New Academic Center to Provide Educational Support for USJ Students


The University School of Jackson officially opened the doors to its new Academic Center with a ribbon cutting on Thursday, August 9, 2018.    Head of School Stuart Hirstein shares his excitement saying, “The USJ Academic Center was the fulfillment of a major goal of our strategic plan launched three years ago. Our new Director, Christy Glenn, is a trained professional who brings a love of helping children reach their fullest potential using what we know about brain research. We are extremely fortunate to have someone with Christy's background and expertise and  Read More

National Merit Foundation Recognizes Three Students from 2018 Class


The National Merit Foundation has recognized three students from the University School of Jackson ‘s Class of 2018: Tyler Bruno, Adam Davis, Eli Garey, Anjali Mahajan, and Annabelle Reese. Tyler Bruno, is the son of Greg and Sondra Bruno. Tyler is a National Merit Semifinalist. He was selected to the NAfME All-National Honor Choirs for two consecutive years and the All-West Honor Band and Orchestra for four consecutive years. He is the President of Spanish Club, the Treasurer of National English Honor Society, and the Secretary of National Science Honor Society. He was selected to American Legion Boys' State and Read More

Three Seniors awarded Ned McWherter Scholarships


Three University School of Jackson students have been named recipients of the 2018-19 Ned McWherter Scholarship. Alden Cardwell, Camryn Coley, and Eli Garey were among only 80 scholarship recipients awarded statewide out of more than 1,500 applications. “Many highly qualified candidates throughout Tennessee applied to be a Ned McWherter Scholar, so we are happy to have three 2018 recipients. In addition to taking challenging coursework and having high test scores, recipients are also scored on their extracurricular involvement and demonstrated leadership. These students meet and exceed those criteria.“ said Carol Ryan, Director of College Advising. The Ned McWherter Scholars Program awards Read More

Students bring home top awards at 2018 TMTA competition


Twenty five USJ students participated in the regional TMTA (Tennessee Math Teachers Association) Math Contest. This competition took place April 10th at Freed Hardeman University. The TMTA award ceremony recognizes the top three students and top three teams. USJ earned first place team in Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and Calculus. Algebra I First: Lisa Nnaji Second: Mohid Tanveer Third: Yaren Dogan Fourth: Saeed Dardas Fifth: Amar Boparai USJ Team: First Place   Geometry First: Anika Mahajan Second: Ethan Schlegel Third: Elisa Kapunan Sixth: Evelyn Helms Eighth: Felix Nnaji USJ Team: First Place   Algebra II Second: Michelle Nnaji Third: Read More

Interdisciplinary Studies Encourage Lifelong Learning


Middle School Director Don Roe spearheaded a new idea for Middle School students this year. Interdisciplinary units have allowed students to dive into one particular topic or concept in all of their classes. Teachers decided the topics taught and worked to incorporate fun, interesting projects into their lesson plans. After spending two days touring ancient Egypt, seventh graders produced maps in teams, read about Egyptian creation myths, and solved puzzles to free themselves from escape rooms. They applied their knowledge by creating pyramids and measuring their creations using mathematical formulas and compared and even constructed Egyptian and Mayan pyramids in Read More

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