Lloyd Jackson, Ed. D.
Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership, Kansas City Public Schools
As our schools return following a year of huge change, we celebrate the leadership of Lloyd Jackson, Ed.D, Assistant Superintendent of School Leadership at Kansas City Public Schools. Lloyd started his career in K-12 education as a mathematics educator, and joined Kansas City Public Schools in 2019 following a long career in education and leadership.
Q: You have been at KCPS for a year: what accomplishment are you most proud of?
I spent the last 14 years of my career working for the same district. Moving into my role in Kansas City meant learning new systems, processes, and building new relationships. I am most proud of the relationships I have been able to build over the past 12 months along with the opportunity make community connections.
These relationships along with my understanding and involvement in the systems in processes of Kansas City Public Schools came in handy when the district had to pivot to online learning. My passion for and experience with technology was also an asset for the work that I do and something of which I am proud. As a district leader, I was able to support principals and teachers in their transition to a virtual experience for not just meetings but teaching and learning. A silver lining of the pandemic has been allowing our teachers and students the opportunity to see what they can do with technology. This has the potential to shape the trajectory of how we do school across the country.
Q: In a COVID-era, what obstacles and opportunities exist for school leaders in urban schools?
The idea of equity remains as a major obstacle. The “school-house” has been an equalizer for so many areas of inequity. During this pandemic, we were not able to get kids to school to feed them, provide them a safe environment or for the one-on-one instructional supports they may have needed to experience the academic gains toward closing the opportunity (achievement) gap. But this provided an opportunity for school and district leaders to come to the table with community partners to craft creative ways to provide the important supports required to continue the progress of our students both academically and socially. While the work may look different, it is still an important work and work with critical consequences.
Q: What challenges have students and staff had to overcome in the last 5 months, and how have they impressed you?
This has been the biggest challenge for our students. And by the same token, the students have been the most resilient in all of this. Students went from having school be safe place where they spent several hours getting a chance to socialize, learn, compete in the various fields of play, create memories that will last a lifetime to having to do school via zoom. And they did it with grace. While the adults tried to figure out what was next, the students took things in stride and in some cases helping educators and parents better understand how to use technology.
The resolve of many of our families to make online learning work and to do so with grace was phenomenal. Over the last few months, the idea of educating students being a partnership that included home and school was ever so important and emphasized. Moving forward will continue to call for strong relationships among the parents, students, and the school.
Q: What leadership skills have you found most useful throughout your career in education?
The cornerstone of my leadership is relationship building. School business is unlike any other industry, it is in the business of developing people. This makes building and sustaining positive productive relationships critical. Because I have a drive to serve others, I believe in service above self. From a young man, I have led with my heart and have had a heart for service. Relationships affords me an opportunity to lead people beyond their comfort zone as they grow toward their best self.
Q: What advice would you give to new leaders coming into KCPS?
Any new leader joining the KCPS team should come prepared to be amazed. Amazed by the great people that are passionate about the work of supporting the academic success of each student. I am also amazed by the drive and ability of the students in our system. There are great things happening, find your wave, ride it, and enjoy because great things are ahead.