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Brenda Jackson has served Shelby County Public Schools long and well and, as she has sworn to do, she has put the kids ahead of herself. Her methods can be questioned, as they were last fall when she fought off a challenger to win her seventh term representing District 5 on the Shelby County School Board, but you can’t debate what is in her heart, for she lives from that heart every time she takes her seat on the platform for a board meeting.
Ms. Jackson is all about the kids and making sure they get the best education this county can provide.
And it is for her heart as much as her record that Ms. Jackson last week was honored with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Citizenship Award by the Governor’s Office of Minority Empowerment.
The award goes to someone whose efforts “demonstrated leadership and achievement to the principles of racial equality, interracial harmony, economic justice, participation in the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday observances and dedication to Dr. King’s dream.” And we see constantly that Ms. Jackson has attained those distinctions.
Think about it: There are few others who have worked longer or harder for education in Shelby County than has she. Some teachers and administrators here and there have been around for 24 years, but those numbers are select.
She also carries one other distinction for Shelby County: She is the only African-American who has been elected to office here in this century – and we count President Barack Obama among those whose names have been on the ballot.
Yes, we commend Ms. Jackson for standing up for students in a quiet and, well, studious manner.
But we also commend her for standing up for African-Americans and showing our young people that they can see what a true leader is about from someone who shares the same skin color.
In fact we think that’s a point about which Mr. King himself would have been proud.