Yoder Elementary School hosts welcome for new principal

On the evening of Monday, August 12, Mebane resident and the new principal at Yoder Elementary School, Jeri Jackson (right), held a meet and greet for the community. Jackson served as an assistant principal at Turrentine Middle School and Hillcrest Elementary School leading up to her hire to replace Leslie Eldreth at Yoder.

Mebane’s E.M. Yoder Elementary School has a new principal for the 2019-20 academic year, as Leslie Eldreth accepted a position as the principal at Burlington’s E.M. Holt Elementary School earlier this summer. Replacing Eldreth is longtime ABSS instructor and Mebane resident Jeri Jackson, who held a meet and greet event for parents at Yoder Elementary the evening of Monday, August 12. 

Prior to accepting her new role at Yoder, Jackson served the community as the assistant principal at Turrentine Middle School in Burlington for two years, as well as assistant principal at Hillcrest Elementary in Burlington for two years. A 2001 graduate of UNC-Greensboro, Jackson was a classroom instructor for eight years, mostly in fourth and fifth grade, before becoming an assistant principal. 

“I’m very excited to be here,” Jackson said as she introduced herself to the Yoder community. “When this principalship became available, I was drawn to E.M. Yoder. It’s my community. I love Mebane, so I wanted to be able to come back and serve the community. I’m excited. This was one of the opportunities that I was looking for - to serve this (Mebane) community.”

A native of New Jersey who grew up spending chunks of the year in Wisconsin, Jackson came to North Carolina in 1997 and never left. 

“My accent is not a southern one completely. I’ve been here long enough that I’ve gotten some of it. I’m originally from New Jersey and Wisconsin, so I feel like if you throw me into an environment, I’m going to fit somewhere in there. I’ll be able to talk to somebody,” Jackson said. “I spent the summers in Wisconsin on a Dairy Farm, and the school months at the (northern) tip of New Jersey.” 

“I came to North Carolina in 1997 in college and I stayed. I have not gone back up north except to visit. I moved to Mebane in 2011, so I am part of the community. I am happy to be here, serving the community,” she continued. 

Jackson has two children in local schools. 10-year-old Mikayla is starting fifth grade, and 7-year-old Austin is starting second grade at South Mebane Elementary School.

“I toyed with the idea of bringing them with me (to Yoder). But Mikayla is a fifth grader, and I felt bad tearing her away from her friends right now. Maybe next year Austin can come over when she goes to Woodlawn (Middle),” Yoder’s new principal said. 

Jackson got her Master’s Degree in School Administration after a decade as a teacher. During her time in the classroom, Jackson spent four years in remediation K-5, working in small groups in math and reading with tier 2 and tier 3 students. 

“I want E.M. Yoder to be a place where students feel cared for and connected. When they walk in the building, they have a sense of belonging. That the people in this building are there for them,” Jackson explained. “I want them to achieve their highest potential. And that may look different for all students. Whatever they’re capable of, I want them to be pushed, to be motivated, and to excel.”

Jackson stressed the need to work with teachers on their skills and communicate with staff to create a friendly, harmonious environment at Yoder. An environment that permeates throughout the hallways, and is recognizable to guests, parents, and most importantly the students attending the school.  

“I want teachers to be equipped with the skills necessary to reach all children,” she said. “Whether that’s special development in academics, or classroom management, I want them to be able to have that, so they can help all students learn. I definitely want us to work together as a team. When you walk into the building, I want you to get that sense that everybody is here and working together. A lot of these are already happening, so I want to continue that.”

“I want students and parents to feel welcome and included,” she added. “That there’s an open door. If you have any questions or concerns, they can feel free to come see me, or someone on staff. I want to get to know you, your family, and your children. If you want to provide feedback, please let me know.”