Jackson-Reed’s academies aim even higher

Dani Wallace, Section Copy Editor

In such a large learning environment, it’s difficult to meet people who have similar aspirations. To combat this, Jackson-Reed offers a great number of academies, which aim to provide students with more personal career based experiences that last a lifetime.


Jackson-Reed is a proud member of NAF, the National Academy Foundation, and has the second most academies in the country. The academies offered at JR align with similar ones throughout the country, sponsored by a government grant from the DC Career Technical Education system. The NAF education pipeline consists of four essential elements of practice: academy development & structure, curriculum and instruction, advisory board, and work-based learning.


Each academy follows a structured program of classes that build on each other and advance as students progress in the pathway. Attending a plethora of field trips, completing hands-on activities, and learning from the experts in their field of study allow students to decide whether they truly want to pursue a career in such a field.


Regina McClure is Jackson-Reed’s NAF Academy Director for SciMaTech Academies (Health Sciences, Information Technology, Engineering), along with the overseer of the JROTC and Wilson International Studies Program. McClure previously served as the NAF coordinator for Eastern High School for four years prior to joining the Jackson-Reed staff in 2022.

McClure hopes to “provide smaller learning communities of like-minded students.”


Brandon Wims is Jackson-Reed’s NAF Director for the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and Academy of Finance, along with the Creative Media Academy and the Academy of Audio/Visual Production. Wims believes that the academies “provide [unique] learning communities within the school building.” 


Entering potential career and college pathways is an added benefit in exploring these distinctive learning opportunities. Wims cited several opportunities that students have to build connections with career professionals and interact with possible employers throughout their years in an academy.


As students continue to grow their skills alongside the programs, McClure and Wims work together to try to cater towards the ever-changing school community. Providing opportunities for students to enter the workforce immediately out of high school is a feat that McClure believes would allow the academies to transition from practice to reality. 

McClure is working towards more student-led opportunities and an environment of inclusivity. Wims is aiming to immerse students in a more career-ready world; with more college tours, possible academy information sessions for interested middle schoolers, and a career fair. •