Steve McCartney

Steve McCartney
Upper School Dean

Steve McCartney taught biology and AP Biology for 12 years at JA before becoming the Upper School dean in 2013 when JA restructured its divisions into Preschool, Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. Mr. McCartney holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Mississippi College.

Upper School Division

The Upper School experience is the culmination of your student’s years at JA. Classes, clubs, activities, events, and fellowship options too numerous to list mark the whirlwind four years of Upper School. Students grow into young adults, and the entire JA community keeps an eye on the futures of these bright stars, guiding them to explore their world and achieve their dreams.

Curriculum Overview

Each student brings important, different academic interests, talents, and abilities to the JA community. In addition to the core English, math, history, and science classes, Upper School students can choose from a wide range of electives in art, music, religion/spirituality, communications, and multimedia. Honors and Advanced Placement courses as well as Academic Resource Center (ARC) availability assist each student in developing to his or her individual, complete potential.

Students and families should also explore the Arts & Music, Athletics, and Campus Life sections of the website to understand the full range of JA programs.


  • The Apple One-to-One program continues with the use of MacBook Air laptops in the Upper School. Students examine and refine effective online research practices, develop computer-aided presentation and communication skills, and explore the world through the information and connections available online — all while learning to be good digital citizens.
  • A variety of electives such as computer programming, film production, Latin and other languages, and financial management (among many, many others) helps students engage with particular interests and career opportunities.
  • A strong guidance-counseling program keeps students on track with the ACT testing, college admissions, and financial aid processes. Counselors alert students to scholarship possibilities, ways to strengthen their applications, and more. JA also sponsors a college fair for students.
  • Middle School and Upper School students explore spirituality and faith during four required chapel services each year. Additional chapel attendance is voluntary and encouraged.
  • From Jazz Band to Showchoir, from fast-pitch softball to the Obscure Sport Club, and from the Cum Laude Society to Habitat for Humanity, students can develop their talents and passions through a variety of extracurricular, athletic, and service outlets.
  • Cherished traditions and events like Grad Night, Features Pageant, annual musicals such as “Bye Bye Birdie,” and more bring Upper School students together, creating lifelong memories of their time at JA.
  • Upper School students also take great pride in serving as leaders within the JA community, as part of Raider Night, Book Buddies, Big Sisters/Brothers, and other mentorship programs.
  • JA graduates have attended more than 160 colleges and universities. In three recent years, 10 percent of the medical graduate students enrolled at the University of Mississippi were JA alumni.

Upper School StudentsUpper School Students enjoy break in the amphitheatre.

Whats Next

JA’s Upper School curriculum ensures that students graduate not only meeting the entrance requirements for college, but also with the critical thinking and savvy to ask why, how, and what — and to discover the answers for themselves. This preparation and the values JA grads share are what make our alumni leaders wherever they go, whatever they pursue.

JA Upper School Admission

Schedule your in-person tour of Jackson Academy’s Upper School to learn more about JA and decide if it’s a good fit for your child, by contacting or call 601.364.5761. If you are ready to begin the application process, click here.