School: Macon County Schools
School District: Macon County Schools
City, State: Tuskegee, Alabama
About the Nominee: Jacqueline Brooks was nominated by a friend, Cena Davis. Dr. Brooks was born in Tuskegee, AL, where she spent her entire childhood in the Crossroads Community in Roba, AL under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Mrs. Willie Lee Austin. Dr. Brooks is a Macon County native who graduated as valedictorian from South Macon High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree from Alabama State University and went on to work in Viera, FL as a teacher, team leader and principal. Dr. Brooks was appointed as interim superintendent in July 2010 and was later hired as superintendent, a role where she is changing lives. She has been married to her high school sweetheart, Terry Brooks, for 24 years. They currently live in Tuskegee, AL with their two children.
Dr. Brooks has been recognized by the Tuskegee-Macon County Chapter of NAACP and Omega Psi Phi, Inc for outstanding service. This past summer, she was named one of Macon County’s Top Women of Influence by the South East Small Business Magazine. She was selected as the District IV Superintendent of the Year for School Superintendents of Alabama (2014-15), as well District IV School Superintendents of Alabama President for two terms (2014-2016). She has authored a number of grants, including Touch the Stars Teen Pregnancy Prevention ($75,000), Teaching After School Students Enriching Lessons (TASSEL, $150,000), 21st Century Community Learning Centers ($300,000), Home Instruction for the Parents of Pre-school Youngsters ($160,000), McKinney Vento Competitive Grant ($52,000), etc. She also served as a contributor to the GEARUPALABAMA grant, which provides multiple opportunities for students, parents and families. It even provides free tuition for parents to continue their education.
Macon County has received the Apple ConnectEd grant, which provides technology for every teacher and student and has opened many doors for students and families. The ETECC (Every Teacher and Every Child Connected) is also a major initiative in Macon County. It was featured on Good Morning America in an interview between Robin Roberts and Apple CEO, Tim Cook.
Dr. Brooks defied the odds with the help of a supportive grandmother. She took advantage of multiple opportunities and developed a growth mindset wrapped in persistence and perseverance. She brings that passion back to Macon County in everything she does. The Macon County School System theme is knowledge, the light of life. Dr. Brooks believes in supporting her leaders and teachers while helping them establish and acquire the belief system and skills needed to lead. There is a laser focus on making learning relevant and providing students with real world experiences.
Dr. Brooks also realizes that supporting the whole community is required to leave a lasting impact and started the new initiative #BecauseMaconCountyCares2016. She stresses compassion and service. The purpose of this hashtag, #BecauseMaconCountyCares2016, is to help families struggling to feed their children during extended holiday breaks. Churches, agencies and community organizations partnered with Macon County Schools to make sure no student went hungry over the holiday break. Holiday meals are served for the entire community, with food being delivered to shut-ins and nursing homes. The most recent delivery occurred on December 22, 2016. Members of the Macon County community gathered to celebrate Christmas early with a special feast. In addition to the meal, every student received a food box.
Macon County faces financial and academic challenges, but Dr. Brooks' motivation and mindset has created a movement that is gaining momentum and causing meaningful change. She has high expectations for all students and leads by example. While Dr. Brooks is quick to give credit to others, she is the driving force behind the life-changing movement taking place in Macon County.