Brenda Priestly Jackson is the president of Direct Education Forward, Inc.(DirectEd), an S corporation and education foundation that assists high school athletes with NCAA eligibility and athletic and academic scholarships and high school students with timely graduation from high school, post secondary opportunities, including college and university enrollment, career certifications, military enlistment and apprenticeships.
Brenda is currently writing a book about navigating K-12 education and successful college enrollment and completion that is based on her husband and sons’ experiences in school, college and sports and she will follow-up with a book about her daughters and their K-12 and collegiate journey. Brenda has also written a middle- years culturally relevant fantasy novel, MK’s First Commission.
Brenda is a fourth generation Floridian on her paternal side and in grace shares that some of her maternal ancestors were enslaved in Fernandina, Florida for generations.
Brenda graduated high school from Jean Ribault H.S., in Jacksonville, Florida and earned her B.A degree from Grambling State University. Brenda earned her J.D. from the University of Florida-College of Law and has been a member in good standing with the Florida Bar for more than 26 years.
Brenda previously served as an elected member and chairperson of the Duval County School Board in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. During Brenda’s tenure (2002-2010) on the school board, the school board members and district focused on reading proficiency, regional access to academic acceleration programs, a multi-year teachers’ contract, academic achievement for all students, especially diverse ethno- racial groups and students on free or reduced lunch and built a new high school.
As an attorney, Brenda specializes constitutional law and civil rights, education, family law and serves as a legal consultant to school districts, foundations, and colleges and universities. She is currently a member of the Florida Bar, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the D. W. Perkins Bar Association and Historic Mt. Zion AMEC.
Brenda is married to DeAndre’ Jackson, her college sweetheart, a robotics teacher and adjunct faculty member, and they are the grateful parents of four, Imani, Malik, Kalif and Kya, who are graduates of Duval County Public Schools. Imani, Malik and Kalif earned their undergraduate degrees from Grambling State University, Princeton University and the University of Florida and Imani and Malik earned their Juris Doctorate from FAMU-College of Law. Kya is a junior attending the University of Vermont and Kalif is currently studying for the LSAT and plans to attend law school.
Brenda currently serves as a member of the Jacksonville City Council, District 10 council member, and chairperson of the Rules Committee. Brenda and her husband live in the home that her parents built 60 years ago and near many of the neighbors who served as her village and elders. Brenda is truly honored to represent D-10 and Jacksonville and ensure that Jacksonville supports a voice vote and good quality of life for everyone, especially those pushed to the margins.