Development Office Announces Staff Changes

Jackson Academy’s Development Office recently made two new staff changes. Ebony Welch, who has worked as development services coordinator for the past two years, will now move to the role of annual giving coordinator. JA Preschool teacher Frances Bussey will serve as alumni coordinator starting June 1, replacing Haleigh Ritter who is now working in the admission office.


Frances, wife of JA alumnus John Bussey ’06, is a familiar face on the JA campus. Frances taught in the Preschool for five years and is excited to take on her new role.

“I hope to develop and maintain wonderful relationships with JA alumni,” Frances said. “I will miss working with the students, but look forward to making JA better beyond the classroom.”

Frances and John have a one-year-old son, Wyc.

The goal of the alumni coordinator position is to build positive relations with Jackson Academy alumni, help them see their importance to the institution, and keep them informed and involved in JA news and events. The office will also help alumni stay connected with each other through reunions and social and professional networking.


Ebony is in her third year at Jackson Academy. Prior to JA she worked in loan operations at Trustmark National Bank for 10 years and at St. Richard Church for five years.

The development services coordinator maintains giving records, acknowledges gifts to the school, and organizes development events. Now as annual giving coordinator, Ebony will add outreach for annual fund gifts to her responsibilities.

“Without the annual fund, JA just would not be the same place,” said Ebony. “We wouldn’t have the best teachers and an amazing Learning Commons and coffee shop. We wouldn’t have all the things that are so easily taken for granted such as nice carpet, updated lockers, and kid-friendly furniture. JA would be a bowl of ice cream, which is good, but what I do definitely adds the chocolate, the whipped cream, and the cherry on top. What’s ice cream without all the goodies we love?”

Along with managing systems and organizing events, Ebony in her new position looks forward to meeting more people. “My son, Cameron, started here in high school so I don’t have the same relationships that people do whose kids have been together since kindergarten. I’m looking forward to getting to know more people and learning their stories and discovering why they love JA.”

Show Choirs Impress Judges and Audiences for Big Wins


Showtime 2018 (photo by Richard Stafford)


Cannon Bosarge, solo winner

Jackson Academy’s show choirs began their competition season Friday and Saturday on a high note. JA’s Middle School and Upper School groups delivered impressive performances that yielded enthusiastic applause, accolades, and the judges’ top award for Encore at Jackson Prep’s Show Choir Masters Competition.



Showtime earned first runner up in the Large Division for middle school show choirs. Cannon Bosarge won first place in the middle school solo competition.

Showtime is under the direction of Amy Arinder with Megan Rowan as accompanist. The group’s program is choreographed by Kevin Chase and Nick Quamme.



Encore 2018 (photo by Richard Stafford)



Encore captured first place in the Large Division for upper school show choirs. Then the group “swept” the competition in finals, meaning the show choir won every category, taking home Best Vocals , Best Visuals, Best Show Design, and Best Costumes . To end the evening, in overall competition among all divisions, Encore was named Grand Champion. Latham Nance earned first place in the high school solo competition.


Encore after the big win


Latham Nance, solo winner


Encore is under the direction of Katie Shores, with accompanist Nancy Cheney, and choreography by Kevin Chase and Nick Quamme.

To see Encore and Showtime, as well as many other impressive show choirs from our state, come to JA for the Jackson Academy Showchoir Invitational this weekend. Click this link for the weekend schedule that begins Friday, February 2.

Both of JA’s show choirs will continue their competition seasons with the following appearances:
February 9-10 – Opelika, Alabama
February 16-17 – West Jones
February 24 – Auburn, Alabama (Encore only)
March 2 – Oak Grove (Showtime only)
March 24 – Heart of America, Orlando, Florida (Encore only)

Jackson Academy Establishes Student-Led Honor Code


When faced with a difficult moral or ethical decision, what rudder do students use for guidance? At Jackson Academy, students now have an Honor Code and Pledge.

The new student-governed Honor Code at JA expresses the values of the school community and helps students and adults strive toward personal honor and integrity in all dimensions of school life.

“An honor code is a statement about what this school community thinks about itself, and the standards to which it believes we all should be held accountable,” said JA Head of School Jack Milne, who helped spearhead the Honor Code at JA and at his previous educational institution, The Bolles School in Florida. “That is something a truly great school does, and what we will do if we believe in our mission of helping create lives of purpose and significance.”

A committee made up of students, faculty, parents, and administrators met during the fall 2017 semester to envision and develop the implementation of a formalized Honor Code. Three student members of the committee introduced the concept to students in eighth through twelfth grades at a convocation on Wednesday, January 23.

Honor Code and Pledge: As members of the Jackson Academy community, we will maintain the highest standards of integrity and respect while striving to achieve excellence in and out of the classroom. As such, on my honor, I will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.

Senior Class President and honor code committee member Dolph Maxwell told the assembly of students that rather than being merely a set of rules for students to follow, the Honor Code holds up a set of ideals to which each person in the community aspires, resulting in students who choose to do “what is right when nobody’s looking.” The ideals of integrity, respect, and excellence are at the heart of the code, to which each student will pledge as a member of the JA community.

Honor code committee member and Student Body President Emma Ward recalled her experiences at Camp Greystone in North Carolina as an example of how an honor code had already influenced her perspective. “An honor code produces people whom younger people can look up to,” Ward explained. “It is something to strive toward and results in truly great people with integrity.” Ward led the assembly through the ratification process to approve the proposal, which the student body and faculty solidly voted to adopt.

“I’m very proud of our student body for endorsing this,” said Dean of the Upper School Steve McCartney. Middle School Dean Matt Morgan agreed, noting that the student body has been working on “unpacking” the significance of the word “purpose” in the school’s mission. Morgan said that this honor code is “tangible evidence of the growth of the school in its character-ethical education journey.” He said the “common language, common feeling, and common motivation” help make the ongoing reflections about purpose and character real for students.

Students will take part in a signing ceremony February 14 where they will affix their names to an Honor Code Charter during a ceremony with special guest speaker Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University. Dr. Keenum will speak about the importance of an Honor System to the culture of a school.

The code and pledge with students’ signatures will hang in a prominent location of the school, said Avery Hederman, a student committee member who was instrumental in drafting the code. The signed document will be a daily reminder of the values sought in the classroom and in activities throughout the school community.

On January 24 following the student presentation, Milne presented JA’s Honor Code, Pledge and procedural system to the leaders of Jackson Area Association of Independent Schools at that organization’s monthly luncheon. Student leaders Dolph Maxwell and Emma Ward again joined Milne for the presentation, giving the independent school leaders examples of what the Honor Code meant to them personally and what they hoped it would mean for their school. Copies of the documents were given to the leaders of those schools in attendance.

The spirit of an honor code has been within the DNA of JA for decades, with students, teachers, and administrators espousing principles of integrity, respect, and excellence. Through community service, participation in numerous character education programs, chapel, student-led spiritual retreats, practices of integrity, respect, and excellence are well grounded. The Honor Code affirms those practices and presents the code’s ideals as the expectation for everyone in the community.

Bannerman Finds Joy in Mississippi, Teaching, and Challenges


“I like to let them think I’m boring,” said Sara Bannerman. Describing her interests and activities, though, the ninth-grade honors English teacher rapidly dispelled any possibility of being referred to as “boring.” Bannerman’s day-to-day life, including experience in contact combat, fencing, photography, and music, rivals that of the literary characters she teaches students to understand and appreciate.

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Bannerman said, “I left and came back to my roots.” Her family moved to Louisiana when she was 12 years old. Her father worked there as a petroleum engineering consultant for two years. The family then moved to the coast of Mississippi to be nearer to their extended family. When it came time for college, Bannerman returned to Jackson to attend Belhaven University.

Bannerman brought her own welcoming committee when she returned to Jackson. “My closest friends from every place I’ve lived ended up going to Belhaven,” she said. When not studying English, she taught herself upright string bass and explored every corner of campus alongside her friends. 

Her time at Belhaven changed the way she viewed literature. “I think I came to understand reading literature beneath the surface as opposed to just skimming the top, which is what I had always done,” she said. Studying under professors whose love of language and story infused their teaching pushed her to “find deeper meaning in the text.”

“I had never really planned to be a teacher; it was a really natural thing,” she said. After college she continued to study English in graduate school at Mississippi College. Bannerman worked at Starbucks for a time before being hired to write textbooks. In 2012, she began work as an adjunct professor at MC where she now teaches American, British, and World Literature.

Between teaching at JA and MC, Bannerman pursues her certification to teach krav maga, an Israeli form of contact combat. During the summer of 2016 she trained in Los Angeles at the same facility as Christian Bale’s daughter. He came to watch. She has studied fencing and Victorian post-mortem photography, and learned upright string bass on a whim.

From the intricacies of literature to running into celebrities, Bannerman’s life seems to be anything but boring. One day at Starbucks she heard a voice address her, “Don’t you just love vanilla lattes? I love vanilla lattes.” It was Rene Zellweger. From her seat at the coffee bar Bannerman replied, “Yeah, I do.”

Second Quarter Honor Rolls

Academy Honor Roll

Twelfth Grade Avery Anderson, Janise Bennett, Hadley Brennan, Hannah Collums, Ilana Dallaire, Lacey Irby, Kaitlyn Johnson, William Laird, Braden Lewis, Robert Lewis, Randolph Maxwell, Meredith McClellan, Elizabeth Nosef, Alexa Perkins, Maggie Smith, Emma Ward, Margaret Whitehead Eleventh Grade Skylar Alexander, Eeshaan Bajaj, Ashton Berry, William Butler, Johnathan Carpenter, Ellie Cartwright, Lucy Clement, Camille Couey, Mary Dyess, Susan Felder, Avery Hederman, Erin Hederman, Ansley Hill, Kaydee Holeman, Anne Lundy, Anne McCormack, Michael McWilliams, Brandon Miller, Gabrielle Morris, David Moulder, Charlotte Palmer, Tafarri Pleas, McKinna Powell, Carneilus Powers, Kaylan Sanders, Webster Strickland, Pier Thompson Tenth Grade Reese Anderson, Walker Barnes, Kelsey Burke, James Chustz, Carter Elliott, Courtney Francois, Simeon Gates, Logan Hatten, Caroline Hill, William Janous, Miles Johnson, Case Kempthorne, Azaria McDowell, Kennedy Nations, Virginia Parry, Nora Pickering, Anna Ray, Anastasia Roberson, Lillian Thigpen, Wisdom Ware, Caleb White Ninth Grade Andrew Antici, Thomas Arnold, Connor Bailey, Jonathan Paolo Bautista, Emily Brown, Rosemary Caldwell, Gracie Coe, Emma Collums, Randle Dinkins, Isabelle Eiland , Caroline Graven, Phoebe Guinn, Caroline Harrington, Sophie Hays, Avery Hendrick, Parker Kirby, Zoe Ladner, Warner Lamb, Emory Laseter, Isabelle Lee, Isabel Lehman, Miles Leverette, William Pilkington, Priyadarshini Ray, Emma Roberts, Lillian Robertson, Anna Seago, Lauren Smith, Emery Thigpen, Timothy Usey, Maysa Vivians, Sarah White, Alice Williams Eighth Grade Abigail Addison, Abigail Arnett, Andrew Barrentine, Cannon Bosarge, Anna Bush, Elizabeth Castle, Robert Cheney, Caroline Courtney, Rachel Deaton, Regan Felder, Tye Gardner, Connor Gee, Ferriday Green, Sandon Guild, Samuel Hadley, Reid Hewitt, Tony Holeman, Magdalen Koury, Annalee LeDuff, Davis Lee, Parker Lowe, Timothy Mahaffey, Kennedy McKee, Anna Nichols, Hayden Parr, Anne Roberson, Garrett Smith, Michael Tate, Reed Travelstead, Sarah Usey, John Wicks, Annalee Willson Seventh Grade Thomas Antici, Molly Baldwin, Bailey Berry, Sarah Clay, Sophie Copeland, Lucy Elfert, Mary Farese, Benjamin Flechas, Jeffrey Gao, Grayce Geary, Sydney Hewitt, Emma Hogue, Blake Jones, Adams Kennedy, Ava Ladner, Robert Long, Anna Parker, Elizabeth Perkins, Dev Sharma, Michael Summerford, Kelly Towery, Josh Watson, Olivia Williford, Parker Yarborough

Honor Roll

Twelfth Grade Blaine Bowman, De’ja Bradford, John Carney, William Cheney, Caroline Childress, Samuel Ciaccio, Kellan Clower, Kennedy Collins, Sophie Creath, Jameson Dear, Cailynn Gregory, Jeffrey LeDuff, Emma Lucas, Elizabeth McCubbins, James McLemore, Mary Mitchell, Walker Pedigo, Barron Pitts, Claire Ross, Olivia Stringer, Isabel Temple, Lillian Walker, Sarah Walker, Samuel Warman, Anna Williams Eleventh Grade Ashlyn Adair, Hayden Allen, Shields Armstrong, Addison Avdoyan, Faatimah Bashir, Jane Brown, Samantha Brown, Lily Crawford, John Crisler, Darby Douglas, Sara Fielder, Kelsey Ford, Owen Fracchia, Charles Gautier, Thomas Iupe, Megan Lacey, Sean Lackey, Katherine Overstreet, Kathryn Partain, Dylan Ramey, Walker Rippee, William Spence, Mary Tharp, Logan Thomas, Mary Williams, Turner Willson Tenth Grade Michael Alford, Emily Burks, Matthew Butler, Yasmin Chambers, Elizabeth Childress, John Clark, Kellum Clark, Ava Del Vecchio, Virginia Dyess, Elizabeth Eubank, Sydney Guy, Hannah Hardee, Thad Hawkins, Michael Herrington, Henry Lee, Christian Luckett, Precious Martin, Harris McLemore, Asher Morgan, Sydney Morris, Ja’Ree Myers, Douglas Noble, Alex Rushing, Nelson Thomas, Donald Waller, Mary White Ninth Grade Simms Baker, Parker Bracken, Nicholas Bryan, Mackenzie Coburn, Julianna Copeland, Ava Couey, Ava Crawford, Jenna Daly, James Dinkins, Mary Downs, Tristan Foster, Dorothy Funderburg, Fumilayo Hall, Caleb Hernandez, Zharia Hill, Garner Hixon, Michael Hogue, Andrew Holmes, Hallie House, Rayford Hudson, Ari Jackson, Caitlin Johnson, Madison Lampley, Nicole Lawrence, Ina Lewis, Jonathan Lucas, Duncan McLendon, Elizabeth Mehrle, Nickolas Nail, Thomas Nance, Elizabeth Pedigo, Madeleine Pettus, Anna Reed, Jude Reeves, Lily Rhoden, Elena Roberts, Alexandra Robinson, Thomas Seago, Allison Sessums, Marett Stanley, Wesley Thomas, Katherine Williams, Samia Wilson, Anne York Eighth Grade Daniel Adams, Jordan Bertschler, Andrew Burks, Jalia Coins, Davis Cress, Gunner Cress, Lyllian Crisler, Kendrick Davis, Morgan Dilworth, Reid Felder, Jeff Grant, Hudson Hadley, Harrison Johnston, Ainsley Kling, Libby Lohmeier, Mary Lundy, Daniel Martin, Molly McClure, Hilton McNair, Charles Nutter, Olivia Quin, Mollie Robertson, John Scarbrough, Wesley Whittington, Andrew Williams Seventh Grade William Adams, Stella Allen, Mary Barnette, Gwendolyn Bishop, Cade Breland, Emily Buchanan, Lilly Gebhart, Ann Hammons, Mia Healy, Houston Hearn, Edwin Hooker, Samuel Lester, Merritt Nations, Grace Pratt, Ian Roberson, Clara Rogers, Robert Sheely, Dajionae Weathersby, Bennett Wier