Since the spring of 2017 Evan McCarley has taught in Jackson Academy’s Academic Resource Center, Writing Center, and coached the school’s speech and debate team. Born and raised in Jackson, McCarley attended pre-kindergarten at JA before attending St. Andrew’s Episcopal School where his mother taught. During his time there he developed many of the passions that continue to shape his path and purpose.
“While I was at St. Andrew’s I became really involved with speech and debate and theatre,” said McCarley. “More than anything, those two activities had a seismic impact on me.” Although he initially joined the speech and debate team to build his resume for college, he soon found an innate love for the activity. When it was time to select a college, McCarley only considered schools that had active forensics teams.
The University of Mississippi proved to be the right fit for McCarley. He studied political science and philosophy while competing on the university’s forensics team and continuing to perform in theatrical productions. Following an internship with a communications firm in Oregon and graduation from Ole Miss, he enrolled at Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, to pursue a master’s degree in communication.
When McCarley graduated in 2011 he returned to Jackson where he worked for a political communications firm. He participated in teams that successfully championed causes during a politically charged election year. He next took a job in Memphis as a project manager for a digital marketing firm and worked there for the next four years. While his days were spent in the corporate environment, McCarley used his evenings and weekends to rediscover his love of acting. Through opportunities across Memphis he performed in many shows before returning to Jackson.
“I come from a long line of teachers,” said McCarley. His mother, aunt, and grandmother were all school teachers. In the summer of 2016 McCarley returned to Jackson a second time, this time to stay. Although he had not considered becoming a teacher before, a phone call from his fourth grade teacher Beth Murray Wilson piqued his interest. McCarley had been working a combination of jobs, but at the beginning of 2017 positions had opened in JA’s Academic Resource Center and the school was in need of a speech and debate coach. McCarley was hired and quickly found himself heading to work at JA.
McCarley enjoyed returning to the academic setting and continues to find satisfaction in helping students develop strong written and oral communication skills. His passion for speech and debate finds its outlet here at JA, while his talent for acting continues to put him on the stage. McCarley is currently performing at New Stage Theatre in their production of “Silent Sky,” portraying the head astronomer’s apprentice in the story of the first female astronomers at Harvard College Observatory. He loves to act, but speaking of his desire to see students learn and grow, McCarley said, “That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.”
New Stage Theatre opened “Silent Sky” February 13 featuring two JA faculty members! Kerri Courtney Sanders plays Margaret Leavitt and Evan McCarley plays Peter Shaw in the production. The show runs through February 25.