New CPSB hire responds to allegations

New CPSB hire responds to allegations

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - He's been hired to save failing schools in Calcasieu Parish, but before even starting the job there were concerns about Dr. Marcus Jackson's past, including his resignation from an Atlanta Public School.

The question many are asking is what happened in Atlanta?

Washington Marion High School, LaGrange High School, and Oak Park Middle School are just three of the nine schools throughout Calcasieu Parish that are consistently struggling.

Looking for a way to improve these failing schools, the school board believes it found a solution.

That solution -  Dr. Marcus Jackson.

"My role specifically is in regards to transformational leadership," he said.

He was hired last month as the school district's new R3 Zone Director. His job is to oversee failing schools, and work to improve their ratings.

But while Dr. Jackson claims he is qualified for the position, many are instead focused on an article by the Atlanta Journal Constitution from nearly a year ago.

It claims Dr. Jackson was in a relationship with a married teacher.

A complaint filed by the teacher's husband, and obtained by the journal said  Dr. Jackson made sexual advances to the teacher while he was principal.

"That's an actual adult issue that actually had zero effect on student achievement, and anyone that I actually had to supervise and evaluate," he said.

Atlanta Public Schools confirms Dr. Jackson resigned on February 21, 2017. He says his choice to leave was due to family reasons, and not what was stated in the AJC.

That article has circulated online  with some defending the school board's choice in selecting Dr. Jackson, while others question his past - most recently the Lake Charles chapter of the NAACP.

"The contracted director of the R3 zone plan is unfortunately unacceptable to the Lake Charles NAACP branch," said chapter president, Rev. J.L. Franklin."Evidentiary vetting data is available to validate this posture."

Dr. Jackson said he wasn't offended by the comments made.

"They have the right to their opinion, however I would welcome the opportunity to actually sit down and meet with them to show them my vision...to actually explain to them who I am," he said. "Obviously they don't know my track record in regards to turning around low performing schools."

When asked about how parents and teachers of these low performing schools might feel about him, he challenges them to get to know who he really is.

"Find out about my past," he said. "Find out about all of it…in its entirety as opposed to one particular blog or anything to that extent."

Jackson plans to address the social and emotional needs of students at these low performing schools so that they can improve their performance scores.

While many have a lot to say about him, he says he's here to work and create growth within these schools by next year.

"Everyday I will actually be in the schools teaching and modeling what I expect, so I'm going to be right down there in the trenches with them," said Jackson.

Calcasieu Parish Superintendent Karl Bruchhaus defends the hiring saying:

"After meeting with Dr. Jackson and hearing his vision and methodology for helping struggling schools, it becomes evident why he was added to our team in Calcasieu Parish. We were certainly able to confirm his experience with transforming schools and his tireless efforts to serve and educate children in our conversation with the school district he previously represented. Our zone goals for our schools are well documented in our Louisiana School Redesign Grant, and Dr. Jackson is passionate about achieving those goals."

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