A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Torrence Jackson first experienced Colorado during a senior trip with school. “I went whitewater rafting and hiking in the mountains; it was so beautiful and amazing – I knew I was going to live here someday,” smiled Jackson. But it wasn’t until nearly 20 years later that his dream would be realized.
“Life just started rolling,” Jackson said. Life would then take him to Florida for college, where he would meet his future wife, Beth, and settle to make his new family. Jackson’s career led him to make his mark in the Palm Beach School District, first as a teacher, then to fill the role of principal for a K-12 school.
“Having our kids out in south Florida, after some time, the values, pace of life and keeping up with the Joneses was too much,” remembers Jackson. So when the opportunity for a principal position opened up at College View Elementary, a Denver Public School in Southwest Denver, they jumped at the chance to relocate to the place that had left such a memorable impression on him.
Well received, Jackson enjoyed staying in the position until this year. Though DPS tried their best to keep him grounded locally, offering him several positions at larger schools, he felt a strong calling to Castle Rock and to a school with curriculum taught alongside Christian values. “This was definitely a call from God for me to come here,” Jackson stated. That’s when he came across the opening for a principal at The Rock Christian Academy in Castle Rock.
“We were excited that opportunities opened up here (Castle Rock) and we really liked the sense of community we felt,” Jackson noted, “Eventually, we want to move here.” Because Jackson sees living in the community you work in as a necessity. “I am a firm believer of being a huge part of the community you lead and trying to establish lifelong relationships,” Jackson continued. “I want there to be this commonality in all that I do – I think that is a big part of who I am as a leader.”
And while his passion is for academic excellence and for students to achieve and get into the college they choose, he wants to create a institution that services the whole child and that critical social emotional piece – making sure that kids get the character and foundation that is so critical for life. Jackson knows, “It takes a village to raise a child. What I tell parents is that there is going to be a village that’s going to raise your kid, but we have to be intentional about which village that is.”
Equally important, Jackson’s vision is to lead a school that encourages kids to not only be good citizens but that changes their family dynamic. He wants to build a place that ‘transforms children from the inside out,’ along with positively affecting their families. “Whether it’s two, four or six years, I want parents to look back and say that our partnership with the school not only changed their child but changed the way they parent.”
Jackson is also in the process of fine-tuning the academic village at RCA. He has brought several new teachers on board and intends to make it a point to be interact with all staff he encounters on a daily basis. “I want to be intentional about the teachers and staff I am pulling into my life. Even in DPS, I was intentional about knowing them and their families and making them feel that they are an important part of the staff,” stated Jackson.
But it’s his strong values and foundation he hopes will allow him make a positive impact in the community. “I want to communicate with our teachers and our parents about my vision – I want them to know who I am as a leader and what I stand for,” Jackson went on, “My desire is that 6 months into it, they can say this guy stands for three things: that kids need to know how to love and that they are loved, become passionate learners and lead like warriors”.