Even assistant principals get called to the office occasionally.
On May 19, Jim Jackson, Evergreen High School’s assistant principal in charge of discipline, was called to a mock office in a skit during the senior farewell assembly. The school not only said goodbye to its seniors but to Jackson, who is retiring at the end of this month.
“You treat kids with respect and dignity,” assistant principal Tony Barnett said to applause from students.
“You support teachers in their time of need,” Barnett said to applause from the teachers.
“You are flexible, helpful and you do what is necessary for the good of EHS.”
Barnett added: “And you are completely overdressed.”
Jackson is known for wearing suits to school every day. On May 19, faculty and staff members sported suit coats and neckties in his honor.
Campus supervisor Tammy Dufford severed Jackson’s necktie with scissors — all in good fun.
Students cheered, a sign of respect to a man who has one of the more difficult jobs in the school — meting out discipline.
Jackson, 57, has worked 34 years in Jeffco schools, 23 of them at EHS. Plus, he’s a 1975 EHS graduate, and he was a student teacher at Wilmot Elementary School.
“I was honored by the way the students treated me at the assembly,” he said afterward. “I’m the discipline guy, and they respect that.”
Jackson looks on his job as more than just being a disciplinarian.
“I’m the guy who gets the relationships with the kids,” he said.
His philosophy as the disciplinarian is not what most students expect. He says it’s all about graduation.
“This is not the kids versus the administration,” he said. “I tell the kids, ‘I’ve got one goal for you, and that’s graduation. We’re on the same page. You and I want the same thing. The whole point is to get you back on track to graduate.’ ”
He said students get detention when they don’t go to class, because if they don’t go to class, they won’t graduate. Students and parents can understand that concept, and Jackson is grateful for parents, who were willing to back him up and work with him on issues with their children.
In the nearly 40 years since he graduated from EHS, Jackson said the school continues to have good students, but some things such as the building have changed. It’s gone through two major renovations and additions in that time.
Plus, the Evergreen community has changed. He remembers EHS having a rodeo club because there were more ranches and families owning horses here.
He also said EHS offered more vocational classes such as woodworking and auto shop, having exchanged those for more Advanced Placement classes. Evergreen students are more college-oriented, and those interested in vocational studies now take those classes at Warren Tech in Lakewood.
About the suits: Jackson says he owns nine of them, but many shirts and ties makes it appear to the students that he owns more. In fact, his wife, Kathy, bought him a couple of new ones for Christmas.
His first order of business after leaving EHS is a boat cruise this summer from Amsterdam through Germany to Vienna. In the fall, he’ll figure out what’s next. He doesn’t know if he’ll retire the suits permanently or whether the next phase of his life will include dressing up for a new job. He’s waiting to see what’s around the bend, whether it’s volunteering or filling in at other schools.
“I hope I stay so busy, so I don’t think about how much I will miss the students,” he said.