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 23 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 mulit-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 in family law, constitutional law and civil rights, education, 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, UNF-DEAC and Historic Mr. 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. Imani, Malik, and Kalif graduated from Duval County Public Schools and earned their undergraduate degrees from Grambling State University, Princeton University and the University of Florida. Kya recently graduated from Atlantic Coast H.S. and she plans to attend the University of Vermont in August 2019.
Brenda believes that because of the abundance of grace and mercy that she, her family and friends experience daily and her ability to live a life of fulfillment and purpose, service to others adheres to Christian teachings and a life well lived. She is grateful for this opportunity to serve her neighbors and our city with her fellow council members and other stakeholders.