- Cleburne Independent School District
New Campus Leaders Get Acquainted with Some Major Supporters
Irving Elementary Principal Sherqueena Jackson and Cleburne High School Principal Ben Renner have experienced the opportunity to meet with a group of their biggest supporters—members of the Cleburne Education Foundation board of directors and advisory committee.
Both administrators, who are starting their first year as CISD campus leaders, were guest speakers at the August CEF board meeting. In addition to being new to the district, they are also new to Cleburne—Jackson coming to the Irving campus from Dallas, while Renner has been an administrator in Joshua and Burleson.
“We wanted to meet these new campus leaders and let them know we are advocates for them,” CEF Executive Director Paige Harris said. “We are their cheerleaders, here for their teachers and students. Irving and Cleburne High School have received more CEF Innovative Grants than the other campuses. That reflects the dedication and passion of their teachers for learning for their classrooms and schools.”
Jackson, who is currently working on her doctorate, represents the first generation in her family to graduate from college. Prior to her move to CISD, she was finishing her second year as the principal of Inspired Vision Elementary School in Dallas. Jackson’s resume also includes service as a middle school assistant principal in Cedar Hill ISD and eight years with Dallas ISD which included three years as an elementary assistant principal. She began her career in education in 2006 as a first grade teacher with Bryan ISD.
“I believe I can relate to some of the obstacles of our Irving students who are living in lower socioeconomic conditions,” she said. “I couldn’t let them stand in my way, and my achievements have outweighed those obstacles.”
As a high school senior, Jackson earned a full ride to Texas A & M University, which she attributes to a lot of hard work, and support.
“That opportunity to go to college speaks about the influence and love of my mother and grandmother,” Jackson said. “I hope to instill the determination and passion that I have into my students at Irving. We want our school to be a safe haven where our students can have fun and meet influential people along the way. We want to have empathy for our students, coupled with high expectations.”
Jackson also shared the “Tigers R.O.A.R.” mission as a campus dedicated to “removing obstacles and achieving results.”
“With a growth mindset added to the mission, we are focused on getting the job done in achieving student success, with nothing holding us back,” she said.
Renner’s move to CHS is also his second experience to be a Yellow Jacket. His first came as a boy, playing on a Yellow Jackets t-ball team.
“The day I received the call that I had been selected as the principal of Cleburne High School I got tears in my eyes,” Renner said. “I realized I had hit my life’s ambition. I am a Yellow Jacket and plan to retire as a Yellow Jacket.”
Renner, who was named the new principal of CHS in April, was born in Dallas, but with a father in the U.S. Navy, experienced lots of moves growing up. He spent six years in the classroom before receiving his first administrative appointment as an assistant principal in Joshua ISD. He has also been a school administrator with Mansfield ISD. He came to Cleburne from Burleson’s Hughes Middle School, where was in his fourth year as principal.
“Cleburne has a great mission, with a vision to become a premier high school,” he said. “It’s a great time to be in Cleburne. The community, school board and superintendent have given us everything we need. We offer more advanced academics classes than surrounding schools and the big districts.”
“In our OnRamps program, students are receiving instruction at a college rigor level in a classroom that is virtually attached to The University of Texas and a UT professor,” he said. “Through AVID, we are reaching out to students who want to go to college. They are taking advanced classes, with the support to achieve that goal. Through Career and Technical Education, we have students graduating with certifications to obtain careers in high-paying jobs. There is nothing like what we offer anywhere else in Johnson County.”
Renner said there are challenges to be faced, with 57 percent of students meeting low socioeconomic standards and 22 per cent limited English proficient. He said programs in place at CHS are answering the challenges.
“We have to reach all kids, aided by such programs as Jacket Academy,” he said. “We are finding learning opportunities that interest kids in school. Their attendance is better and discipline referrals are dropping. The plan is to expand Jacket Academy to include our middle schools, while also offering higher learning for adults, to be a true hub for education in Cleburne and Johnson County.”
“This vision,” Renner said, “Has me excited to be here.”
Sherqueena Jackson, the new principal of Irving Elementary, exchanges some “Tiger Talk” with Cleburne Education Foundation Board member Albert Archer, who is a “graduate” of the former Irving campus. Jackson and Cleburne HS Principal Ben Renner were guest speakers at the August CEF board meeting.