5 things you didn’t know about JACK MILNEBy NIKKI ROWELL,
He is a second generation American, as his father’s parents were immigrants from Scotland and his mother’s from Norway. He considers his wife, Caroline, to be his most important attribute in his role as Head of School. He attended Vanderbilt on a football scholarship and played rugby in law school. His favorite activity at JA is reading to preschoolers. He loves Civil War history and Robert Burns poetry.
Whether it is on the football field, on the stage or in the classroom, Jackson Academy (JA) Head of School Jack Milne said faculty, staff and administration aim to provide the instruction, direction and encouragement for all students to achieve their very best.
“They all have gifts that they bring and it’s our job to help them unwrap them and maximize them,” Milne said.
Milne, a native of Jacksonville, earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Vanderbilt, where he attended on a football scholarship. He then was graduated from the University of Florida College of Law.
In 2000, Milne decided after successful careers in business and law to follow his heart into education. He began his teaching career at the Bolles School in Jacksonville.
A few years into his career, he was approached about taking on a role in administration and accepted the position of Associate Head of School for Student Life.
A little more than two years ago, he was approached about an opening at Jackson Academy as the vice president, before eventually taking the lead as Head of School.
“I was drawn most to the mission statement of the school, which the upshot is helping create lives of purpose and significance,” Milne said. “Those two words really resonated with me, because to me, education needs to be more than just about knowledge.”
For Milne, the critical role of JA is developing well-rounded young adults.
“When one of our students graduates, I shake his or her hand at graduation day. They’re no longer a child, they’re a young adult by then,” Milne said. “My objective is not to produce or help produce a qualified 18-year-old to go on to college. We do that. But my objective is to help produce a productive and contributing 30 or 40-year-old.”
Milne aims to help mold the kind of person students will later become.
“I care more about the type of person they become than how they performed in the classroom, such as what their grades were or their test scores,” he said.
While those things are celebrated, Milne said his hope is that their success reaches beyond that.
Jackson Academy was founded in 1959 by a teacher, Loyal Bearss, along with 10 local families. The school later grew to become a preschool through 12th grade college preparatory school, which touts individual attention, small class size and well-qualified, dedicated faculty as factors in its success.
Those elements are still considered essential to the institution’s character and, in addition to the students, attracted Milne to join the school’s administration.
“The students that I met when I came here struck me as being self-confident, respectful, well-rounded and grounded,” Milne said. “That struck a chord. That is what initially drew me to Jackson Academy.”
Jackson Academy now averages 1,150 to 1,200 students each year from preschool to 12th grade.
He is also proud of the passion of the teachers who love the subjects they teach and the students they teach.
When he first got into education, Milne was asked how his new career compared to his previous work in law and in business.
“I said, ‘It’s pretty simple. When I was a lawyer, I couldn’t wait until Friday. Now, as a teacher, I can’t wait until Monday,’” Milne said.
He carries that excitement and passion into his day-to-day work at the school.
Some other things that Milne says make JA unique are the programs that they offer and the fact that all grades are together on one campus.