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Inspiring Students Still Fuels Excellence in Teaching Winner After 29 Years

After 29 years of teaching, including the past four at Flagship Charter Academy, Lisa Jackson-Clayborn’s enthusiasm for transforming children’s lives remains as high as ever.

“I just love inspiring young people,” she said. “I love giving back to my community. This is why I stay at Flagship and remain here and in the profession as a whole. So many teachers walk away from the profession because of politics but I see the possibilities. That’s what keeps me coming back every year.”

Lisa Jackson-Clayborn and student.
Fourth Grade Teacher Lisa Jackson-Clayborn was named an Excellence in Teaching winner for the 2021-22 school year

Jackson-Clayborn, Flagship’s fourth grade teacher, was honored as an Excellence in Teaching winner as part of the National Heritage Academies (NHA) Excellence Awards for the 2021-22 school year. She said her students being invested in the material made for an enjoyable year and was reflected in their test scores.

Lisa Jackson-Clayborn and student.

“I think with that class, there was so much opportunity,” she said of the students she had for the 2021-22 school year. “So many opportunities to branch out and to expand. In the lessons, they always had rich conversations, they were thinkers. They were always thinking beyond what you’re giving them and that inspired me to be a better teacher in the classroom. One would say it just inspired me to go that extra mile. Sometimes as teachers, we tend to pause because we want to make sure that we’re reaching everyone, but with this class it was just easy. They grew in their testing scores. NWEA was good, M-STEP was good. It was just a great class and a great year.”

Jackson-Clayborn said she aspires to connect with each student. The students she taught the previous year were across the hall from her, and they remembered things she likes, bring her bananas or apples. And she makes sure to keep them in mind as well, following up with them on their progress as middle schoolers.

Students at white board.

“I think even if we don’t have that close relationship, I think that there’s a respect there,” she said. “As long as there’s respect there, they can circle back around. I follow my students even as they move up to middle school, I’m always inquiring.”

Flagship Principal Nicole Woods said Jackson-Clayborn infuses learning into her every conversation, finds new ways to bring learning to life, and gets students excited in the process.   Her efforts have helped Flagship outperform the local district for nine years.

Students at desks.

“I love the opportunity of giving young people an opportunity to know that you can be more,” she said. “I love Flagship. I love my principal because she’s not afraid to have hard conversations and she’s not afraid to give the information that’s needed. I just love Flagship as a whole, I love the community, I love the teachers I work with, and I love the families that I serve.”

Group of students. 
Keep up the excellent work, Ms. Jackson-Clayborn!

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About Flagship Charter Academy
Flagship Charter Academy is a tuition-free, public charter school in Detroit, Michigan, serving students in kindergarten through eighth grade. It is part of the National Heritage Academies network, which includes more than 100 tuition-free, public charter schools serving more than 65,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade across nine states. For more information, visit
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