Eureka High Teacher Stephanie Jackson Honored

February 5, 2010
Stephanie Jackson, long-time teacher at Eureka High School, was honored with the Stagecoach Legacy Award on February 4, 2010, at the 2009 Humboldt County Office of Education Stagecoach Awards ceremony, held at Baywood Country Club in Arcata.

Wells Fargo created the award to honor the important role that teachers play in the community. Members of the community were invited to nominate teachers they thought were exceptional. Eighty-five nominees were up for the awards. Jackson received a total of $2,000 for her classroom, as well as an additional $1,000 for her school.

In her nomination letter, Carole Cox, lead counselor at Eureka High, wrote, “To date, I believe Stephanie's greatest achievement is the way she has fully embraced the teaching of AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) at our school. This is a structured program that provides underrepresented youth the opportunity to successfully graduate from high school and be prepared for entrance into a four-year college or university. As an AVID mentor, co-coordinator, teacher and friend, Stephanie Jackson inspires leads and loves each of the diverse groups of students placed in her care. Her wide-eyed enthusiasm is infectious and her determination unstoppable.”

Eureka High School student Betty Chang said she nominated Jackson for the award because, as the teacher for Chang's AVID class, she was and continues to be supportive while acting as a kind of “second mother.” “Ms. Jackson is the most amazing person in my whole life,” Chang said.

Jackson has worn many other hats during her 21 years with Eureka City Schools, including volleyball coach, class adviser, physical education teacher and department chair, and student government activities director at Eureka High School. “She is the quintessential student advocate and cheerleader, sometimes providing the only bright spot, hug or ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling her students receive during the day,” Cox said in her letter.

Jackson said she considers herself a “potential junkie,” in that she thrives on being surrounded by the potential of her students. ”It lights up the room when a student figures out how much potential they have,” she said. “I'm blown away to be the winner,” she said.

Wells Fargo Bank sponsors these annual awards, in their sixth year in Humboldt County. Wells Fargo Project Manager Alison Hong hosted the event. Seven other local teachers were recognized as Stagecoach Award winners and given $1,000 each for their classrooms. They are Anne Bown-Crawford from Arcata High School; Sandra Close and Saul Lewis from Scotia Union School District; Kimberly Hyde from Orleans Elementary School; Tara Nuth from Fortuna High School; Mandy Pinkerton from Hydesville School District; and Wendy Turk from Arcata Elementary School.

Superintendent Garry Eagles of the Humboldt County Office of Education said he is continually impressed with the teachers who were honored. They positively affect children's lives, he said. ”They're not measured by test scores,” he said. “They're measured by the heart.”