The Choice to Serve with Khieem Jackson

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Dustin Odham

Thought Leader for FranklinCovey Education
When I was a kid, my favorite Crayola color was sky blue, and my mission in life was to become a professional basketball player. I pursued that dream right up until I learned I was “not fast or quick, but determined and a great team player.” Yes, that was a real evaluation I was given during my AAU days. I decided to play to my strengths instead, and retired from the prep basketball scene with what I feel was a tasteful lack of fanfare. Since then, my mission statement has been to make a positive and lasting impact in the life of every person I meet. Every single day. I have spent my career trying to help unleash greatness in everyone I am privileged to work with and for. My commitment to that mission statement became more nuanced when I began teaching high school math at a school with a significant achievement gap. I was learning just as much as my students were, and there were certainly rough patches at the beginning. But in the end, our students outpaced the entire district in academic growth. Repurposing that childhood dream, I also coached girls basketball and regularly demonstrated that I had not, in fact, grown faster or quicker with age. It was during this period that I won St. Louis Region Teacher of the Year and was a finalist for a National Teacher of the Year award. As I continued to look for ways to make a positive and lasting impact on my community, I took a job as executive director of a teacher training program. My team increased our teacher pool from 75 to 200, impacting hundreds of schools and thousands of students. Then, as a turnaround specialist with St. Louis Public Schools, I helped create our Office of Innovation, enabling our lowest performing schools to get accredited. In the private sector, as a turnaround performance consultant, I led projects with district superintendents, assistant superintendents, principals and teachers to help turn their student academic performance around and transform their school communities. It was also during this time that I really perfected my karaoke version of “Friends in Low Places.” I continued this work at FranklinCovey Education as a Client Partner, where our team partnered with educators to unleash the potential of thousands of administrators, teachers, and parents – impacting tens of thousands of students in hundreds of cities across three states. As a Managing Director for the Southeast United States and Canada regions, I now support our client partners as they work to do the same all across North America. This is a far cry from a career as an NBA superstar. But I’ve loved my life, and all the people in it – most especially my amazing wife Ashley and my three boys Luke, Noah, and our baby, James, who was born in the middle of the pandemic. Every twist and turn has led me here, and I am grateful for each of them. My favorite Crayola color is still sky blue, and I’ve finally found a sport (golf) that does not depend on speed or quickness. I hope this podcast is a force for lasting, positive change for the guests, and for anyone who tunes in. I’m honored that you’ve taken the time to tune in.

Khieem Jackson

Founder of the Mission Strategy Group
Khieem Jackson is a Veteran and senior level government and community relations professional with diverse experience with federal, state and local government advocacy, external relations, legislative affairs, issue management, and bi-partisan coalition building.  Khieem has world-wide experience in supporting engagement of peer-to-peer discussions with decisions makers, and in supporting the development of effective, independent, and responsive legislative institutions.   Khieem was designated as a United States Marine Corps (USMC) Aviator— flying helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. During his tenure, he completed numerous combat and non-combat deployments. After successful tours he was selected as the USMC Office of Legislative Affairs Deputy Director to the US House of Representatives on Capitol Hill where he led Marines, supported congressional Members, developed national legislative engagement strategies, and advised USMC senior leaders.   Khieem has committed his life to serving others and supporting future generations. Khieem continued his service to others in the TK-12 education space where his passion for service and love of children are blended to lead, and shape policies that increase education investments and efforts on the full span of TK-12 educational programs throughout the Nation with an emphasis on California.  Khieem is the former CA Deputy State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the California Department of Education. 
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