The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, dean of The School of Theology, has appointed the Rev. Dr. Deborah Mitchell Jackson, T’07, as the new associate dean for community life. She will begin her duties on Nov. 1, 2013.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Jackson is available at this time in the school’s life,” stated Alexander. “I believe she brings with her a marvelous constellation of abilities, experience and spiritual depth that will be a great gift to us.”
Jackson, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., graduated from The School of Theology in Sewanee with an M.Div. in 2007. Immediately following graduation, she began her ministry as a canon at St. John's Cathedral in downtown Jacksonville — the cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. Jackson later served as assistant rector at St. Paul’s by the Sea Episcopal Church in Jacksonville Beach, and most recently as interim associate rector at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville.
The Rt. Rev. Samuel Johnson Howard, bishop of Florida, had this to say about Jackson: “I can think of no one better suited by experience, education, and temperament for the position of associate dean for community life. It has been a distinct privilege to have had Dr. Jackson as a colleague in the Diocese of Florida and it will be a privilege to have her on staff at Sewanee, where I am honored to serve as chancellor.”
Jackson received her undergraduate degree in behavioral science from Rollins College before earning an M.B.A. in marketing and management from Jacksonville University. Her studies led her to a 23-year career in marketing with Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Florida. Additionally, Jackson has been an adjunct instructor at Florida State College at Jacksonville for the past two years.
In May 2013, Jackson graduated from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, where she earned her D.Min. with a focus on transformative leadership. Her thesis was a study of young adults in the Millennial generation, titled "Welcoming Young Adults Home: Creating a Model for the Churching of Young Adults."
Raised in the United Methodist Church, Jackson made the switch to The Episcopal Church after marrying and starting a family, joining St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Jacksonville. Jackson and her husband, Jim, have three grown children — Jerrold, Justin, and Ashley.
Jackson replaces the Rev. Thelma Nikki Mathis, who has been serving as associate dean for community life since 2011. Mathis’ last day at Sewanee is Oct. 15, 2013. “I have so enjoyed my time here with students, faculty, and staff at The School of Theology,” stated Mathis. “The work has been challenging and rewarding and oftentimes fun. I will miss everyone, but I know God is doing great things at the seminary and I am excited about what Dr. Jackson will bring to the community.”