A headshot photo of Jackie Thompson smiling.

Jackie Thompson

Nice to meet you! I am happy to be the newest editor of Kentucky Teacher and information office supervisor at the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). I have been a storyteller since I could first speak and have been involved in various communications, government and advocacy roles for the past five years.

I grew up in the close-knit communities of Hodgenville and Elizabethtown, where I attended Elizabethtown High School (Elizabethtown Independent). My teachers there fostered a true love of learning and a desire to stay curious. Through the Kentucky YMCA Youth Association, I found a passion for advocacy and serving others. I later moved to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky, where I received a bachelor’s degree in political science.

My love of writing and storytelling began at a young age. Aside from my parents, who taught my siblings and I to prioritize our education, my teachers were among the first to encourage me to use writing and storytelling as a form of self-expression. My 7th-grade English teacher gifted me my first pocket thesaurus and challenged me to expand my vocabulary, while my high school English teachers pushed me to think outside-of-the-box and embrace my creativity.

I first joined KDE in February 2021 as an information officer and writer for Kentucky Teacher. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to explore Kentucky Teacher and be a piece of the important service it provides to its audience.

When it first launched decades ago, KDE published Kentucky Teacher to communicate directly with the state’s 45,000 public school teachers. The stories of this award-winning publication included news, features, perspectives and practical, workable ideas for guiding students to higher levels of achievement.

Over the past 18 months, KDE has been working on a redesign of Kentucky Teacher and it is almost ready to launch. Our goal with the redesign is to make the website more user friendly. You will notice new colors and a new logo. We also are continuing to expand our reach so the publication can reach as many students, educators and families as possible.

Our subscriber list has grown to about 150,000 people. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were getting more than 100,000 hits a month on the website. On average, we currently get between 40,000 to 50,000 hits a month. This helps us see that our content is relevant and is reaching our audience. My favorite stories we’ve been able to tell this past year include this profile on Kentucky’s 2022 Teacher of the Year, this important feature on Kentucky’s current bus driver shortage and this story about the trailblazing Grace M. James Academy of Excellence.

I also hope to share more stories with you about KDE’s new groundbreaking initiative, United We Learn. This project represents how Kentucky educators, families and community leaders will use innovation and best practices to prepare students for the future. Education stakeholders from all backgrounds are working to find out what works best at the local level and expand successful programs statewide.

This bold and forward-thinking process will create a more student-centered learning experience that gives all children an equal opportunity for success. Kentucky Teacher will bring you updates and insight on this process to keep you involved and informed.

In my new role, my goal is to make Kentucky Teacher the first place you go for your education updates. Whether you are an educator, student, family member, school board member or community stakeholder, I want Kentucky Teacher to represent you.

I also want to highlight education stakeholders across Kentucky. I grew up surrounded by educators: my mother, a former elementary school teacher and current high school interventionist; my grandmother, a former high school English teacher; and my late grandfather, an elementary school teacher turned psychology graduate professor. I later met my fiancé when he was a 1st-year teacher. I am not only very familiar with the challenges that our teachers and school employees face, but also their amazing selflessness.

I want Kentucky Teacher to be a place that amplifies the voices of educators, students and families, demonstrates what these individuals need to be successful and highlights the incredible triumphs happening among them every day.

I hope you continue to enjoy the content Kentucky Teacher provides.

What is your favorite part of Kentucky Teacher? Do you have a story you would like us to feature? Please email me or kentuckyteacher@education.ky.gov.