Featured Certificant: Wanda Jackson

Wanda Jackson

ACAS, EC-12 Principal, District Instructional Behavior Specialist
Why did you choose your profession?
On the chosen path to becoming a criminal prosecutor at the federal level, I was completing graduate studies in Clinical Sociology and working full-time as a clinical case manager at one of the highest security prisons for juvenile males in the state of Florida. The experience was preceded by eleven years of working directly with children and adults with behavioral and/or severe emotional needs. Just when I thought my decision to return to my home state of Texas and accept the opportunity to enter the Thurgood Marshall School of Law was a sure thing, I was asked to temporarily sub in The Full Security Classroom on an emergency teaching permit because as the superintendent described my skill as, “I have seen few people able to connect with these kids as you do!” After about the fourth week as the temporary sub, the superintendent and my immediate supervisor approached me with a suggestion that I should continue teaching, because as they stated, “Wanda, teaching is your true calling!” That assignment was the most challenging and difficult I had experienced throughout my professional career up to that point! I was amazed that others not only could attest to what was obvious, I loved that job, but emphasized their support and admiration of how I carried out the prescribed duties in a manner that fostered trust, respect, and the students’ interest in learning! A full-security classroom leads to the position of Supervisor for Educational Staff for students with Exceptional Needs. The rest is history! Twenty-one years later and counting…I didn’t become a famous, incredibly wealthy federal criminal prosecutor; instead, I’ve been blessed and honored to provide services to boys and girls in EC-12k education with variants of disabilities, conducting and/or coordinating professional development for teachers, staff, and administrators as well as a professional consultant for the states of Florida and Texas.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
My favorite part about what I do is working diligently with others. As a Texas Ambassador to create a heightened awareness focused on autistic people by collaborating with local, state, and federal political influencers to get specific legislation passed in the areas of research, EC-12k education, and Higher Ed. equity/accessibility, employment, housing, healthcare/trauma-crisis intervention, and overall social awareness.
How has your IBCCES training/credential helped you in your career?
My IBCCES training/credential helps in so many ways in my career. First, I can stay abreast of current research and best practices. This allows for me to be able to speak as an expert when providing professional development to EC-12K teachers, staff, and administrators at the campus and district level when developing and/or improving services to my autistic students. Next, I am afforded the opportunity to work closely with other professionals at the state level as a consultant for developing a K-12 curriculum for students with disabilities, specifically as it relates to Social-Emotional Learning. Finally, I am privileged to provide my knowledge and expertise to parents of autistic children. As an advocate for students with disabilities, my IBCCES training/credential brings trust and credibility in the role as a helping agent for parents seeking reliable answers and representation for them and their children specific to options, solutions, resolutions, and the best possible outcome based on research and best practices.

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