Meet Kristin Jackson| Director of Development | KIPP DC Headquarters
We want to recognize Kristin Jackson as KIPP DC’s July Staff Spotlight! She is the Director of Development at the Headquarters Office. Kristin, a Los Angeles native, obtained her bachelor’s degree in Communications and Art History from Boston College. Since joining in 2011, she has worn many hats in the organization. We had the chance to sit down with her to gain more insight into her professional journey.
What led you to choose a path in education?
“During college, I was part of the Big Sister Big Brother program. I had a mentee that I met with every Tuesday from my sophomore year in college through my senior year. So, getting to work with her and understanding the educational landscape in Boston, but also my experience as a Black woman from Los Angeles, and my parents’ emphasis on education. Education opened doors for me; It’s always been part of my North Star. I wanted to be a part of an organization where I could continue guiding students who look just like me.”
Pretty inspiring! Is that also what led you to KIPP DC?
“Yes, it did! I got to understand the KIPP network from KIPP LA. The DC region had an amazing opening, so I applied and took advantage of a life-changing opportunity. I was excited to join the organization in 2011, the goal at that time was only to have ten schools and one high school. Around this time, there were maybe 3500 students, so it’s been an incredible ride in terms of seeing the expansion of the work we’re doing, and as soon as we can work with alumni we support them too.”
What is your favorite thing about the students at KIPP DC?
“There are many things, but seeing the limitless possibilities. I truly loved being a 4th- grade teacher. Being part of a student’s journey through the education pathway and getting to be part of the magic that happens in the classroom never leaves you. So, my favorite part about our students is seeing their drive about what they want to do and persevering through anything and everything that is in front of them. We have brilliant boys and girls in our schools who will be our next leaders in DC.”
Can you tell me how your work impacts our schools?
“As the development director, I work alongside incredible development practitioners. We are responsible for fundraising to make sure that KIPP DC can do all the bonuses that make KIPP DC the place that it is. Our team is responsible for making sure that we receive our federal funding and accountable for receiving financial support to ensure that we have our successful KIPP Forward team. We also fundraise for scholarships that we provide our alumni or graduating seniors with stipends and scholarships as they begin their new journey outside of KIPP DC.
We’re not only responsible for the financial support but also for building donor support. This involves finding new individuals who want to support our work and mission, engaging our current support, finding new corporate partners who can provide career readiness workshops, unique exposures to new industries, opportunities, and internships. It’s just about building our external affairs presence and ensuring that KIPP DC has the resources, people and opportunities to ensure our students, alumni, and families thrive.”
Can you also tell me about an exciting project you worked on that impacted our students?
“One of my favorite initiatives we work on every year is our College and Career Send-Off. We get to build excitement for our graduating seniors, whether they’re pursuing a college degree or going towards a career pathway. We get to increase the momentum and excitement for them to embark on their new endeavors and raise financial support so they can thrive.”
As an HDQ staff member, how do you stay connected with school base staff such as teachers, school leaders, office managers, etc.?
“I am very fortunate that because I was a teacher, I have many connections at some of our schools, so I get to hear all about the fantastic things happening. Before COVID, I spent at least almost every other Friday helping at a campus and built those relationships. As a headquarters staff member, it is essential to get into the schools to remind yourself of why we do our work because it can become so isolated and siloed.”
If you could pass on any wisdom to our students, what would you tell them?
“We have an incredible group of adults who want to see our students succeed, so always ask as many questions as possible. Always say yes to the opportunities you are interested in and truly believe in yourself! Life is hard, but whatever you want to do is possible if you have the right people supporting you and alongside.”
From teaching students to building donor support for alumni, KIPP DC is proud to recognize Kristin Jackson as July’s Staff Spotlight. Her hard work and dedication to our students over the years are truly extraordinary. We look forward to her many positive contributions to our students’ journeys.