History of Jackson Preparatory School

FOUNDING BOARD OF TRUSTEES

1970 

*Marshall M. Fortenberry, President
Gus A. Primos, Vice President
B. B. McClendon, Jr., Secretary
Wirt A. Yerger, Jr., Assistant Secretary
J. O. Manning, Treasurer
*Jesse L. Howell, Jr., Headmaster
Fred W. McEwen, Sr., Executive Secretary 

William S. Cook
*F. Earl Fyke, Jr.
*Paul B. King
Robert W. King
Louie E. Little
Albert L. Meena
*Ben Puckett
Sam Riddell
D. L. Simmons, Jr.
*William M. Spotts
Victor P. Smith
Robert N. Stockett, Jr.
*T. Arnold Turner, Jr.
O. B. Walton, Jr.
*William C. Warner
*Calvin L. Wells
*Indicates deceased

Founded in 1970, Jackson Preparatory School was the first and continues to be the largest secondary independent school in the Jackson metropolitan area.  Established as a premier coeducational college preparatory day school for grades seven through twelve, it has exhibited more than four decades of excellence in education and has more National Merit Semifinalists and Finalists than any other school in Mississippi. 

Jackson Prep originated as a for-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Mississippi. Jackson Preparatory School, Inc., the original corporation, applied for and was granted non-profit status by the IRS on January 4, 1991.  There was much work to be done before the transition on June 1, 1995, and the single individual most responsible for initial setup of the non-profit corporation and transfer of operations from the original corporation to Jackson Preparatory School Foundation, Inc. is Holmes Adams.  The establishment of the Foundation has allowed Prep to raise funds to assist with operational costs and capital expenditures without drastic increases in tuition to cover these necessary expenses and is probably the key to Prep’s stable enrollment even in tough economic times.

Dr. Marshall Fortenberry served as the first chairman of the Board of Trustees, and it was primarily through his vision and energy that the school became a reality.  Jackson Prep opened its doors in August, 1970, and Jesse L. Howell, Jr. served as its first headmaster.

The Board of Trustees purchased acreage on Lakeland Drive in Flowood, Mississippi, which at the time was a completely undeveloped area.  They felt the site would be easily accessible to Jackson and that it had great potential for development.  Construction of the high school building began in April of l970, allowing only five months before school started to complete the job.  Not only did they want a first-rate building finished in a short amount of time, but also they expected the building to contain complete classrooms, science laboratories, administrative offices, and a library.  Also during the spring, work began on the football field, practice field, stadium, and field house.  The high school was finished in time for classes to start in September, and the football facility was completed soon thereafter. 

From 1970 to 1972, construction continued around the campus.  During the l970-1971 school year, workers completed the gymnasium, which is now part of the McRae Center.  This gymnasium originally served not only as a basketball court but also as an all-purpose meeting area for the school.  During the summer of 1971, the school erected the junior high building to accommodate the burgeoning enrollment—after the first school year, the number of students increased from 646 to 966.  At the same time, construction crews added the band and choir rooms and a lunchroom at the back of what is now the McRae Center.

During the 1971-1972 school year, the school also added a baseball field, a track, and tennis courts to its athletic facilities.  The school waited until the 1978-1979 school year to begin work on the new gym and the auditorium, which opened during the 1979-1980 school year.

Since that time, Prep has constructed the J. O. Manning Patriot Center, the McRae Fine Arts and Media Center, the Guyton Science Center, the Dining Commons, Patriot Avenue and Patriot Way.  Construction of The Centre for Arts and Leadership is near completion.  The Centre showcases Fortenberry Theatre, a new 1000-seat theater, and also includes Lindsay Hall and the VanDevender Art Gallery. 

The primary entry grade for students is grade seven, but Jackson Prep added a sixth grade beginning in the 2006-2007 school year.  The sixth grade classrooms are located in the Junior High Building.

A talented and experienced faculty oversees an educational program designed to nourish both learning and character through a holistic curriculum centered on a Judeo-Christian philosophy.  The school’s steadfast commitment to academic excellence extends to athletics and the arts as well.  With this reputation for excellence, Jackson Prep aspires to achieve an even broader preeminence among independent schools in the Southeast.

JACKSON PREPARATORY SCHOOL
©Copyrght 2011. All Rights Reserved | 3100 Lakeland Drive, Jackson MS 39232 | P (601) 939-8611