Brenda Priestly Jackson is an attorney and president of Direct Education Forward, Inc. (DirectEd), an education foundation that assists high school student athletes with NCAA eligibility, athletic and academic scholarships to colleges and universities and timely graduation from high school to expand post secondary opportunities.

Brenda is the daughter of the late Frank and Brenda (Albertie) Priestly, a science teacher and television producer.  Brenda’s roots in north Florida span more than 200 years, including her paternal great grandfather, Rev. E.J. Gregg, one of the four founders and first president of the Afro American Life Insurance Company (1901) and pastor of Historic Mt. Zion AMEC (1898-1903) and maternal ancestors who were enslaved in Fernandina Beach, Florida for many years. Brenda often reflects on the rich legacy of her ancestors and their commitments to perseverance, inclusion, equality and expansion of opportunities and her belief that she must do the same.

Brenda graduated from Jean Ribault H.S., earned her B.A. from Grambling State University, and her J.D. from the University of Florida-College of Law. Brenda 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. Brenda’s tenure (2002-2010) on the school board was marked by shared values with her fellow board members, collaboration, putting the academic needs of DCPS’s diverse students first, and building a new high school-Atlantic Coast H.S.

As an attorney, Brenda started her legal career as an assistant public defender under Public Defender Lou Frost and her then supervising attorney Charlie Cofer, the current Public Defender. Brenda credits them, along with her long time mentor, Gwendolyn Gibson, Esquire, with her passion for justice and a client entered approach to practicing law. She practices in the areas of constitutional law, civil rights, and family law and serves as a legal consultant to school districts and foundations. She is currently a member of the Florida Bar, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Jacksonville Bar Association, and the D. W. Perkins Bar Association.

Brenda is married to DeAndre’ Jackson (her college sweetheart and a middle school computer science teacher) and they are members of Historic Mt. Zion AMEC. They are the grateful parents of Imani, Malik (Stephanie), Kalif and Kya, who graduated from Duval County Public Schools. Kya is currently a senior at the University of Vermont. Imani, Malik and Kalif earned their undergraduate degrees from Grambling State University, Princeton University and the University of Florida respectively. Imani earned both her JD (FAMU-College of Law) and LLM (UF-College of Law) and teaches. Malik earned his JD (FAMU-College of Law) and practices law as an associate at a local law firm. In pursuit of his professional goals and like his older siblings and mom, Kalif will begin law school in Fall 2022 at FAMU-College of Law.

Brenda currently serves her neighbors on the Jacksonville City Council as the, District 10 council member. Brenda and her husband live in the home that her parents built 62 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.