I am a success
Monica Pierce

From student to educator. How alum Monica Pierce believes Jackson College set her up for success.

Monica Pierce has been the principal of instruction at Jackson High School since 2019 – the first African-American in that role — and an integral part of Jackson Public Schools for more than two decades. Before her rise in academia, the road began at Jackson College in 1994.  

The Journey

Back then, she was a teenage parent working at the former retailer Jacobson’s. Jackson College, or JCC at the time, caught her attention and saw it as an opportunity to improve her family’s future. She initially wanted to be an ultrasound technician but later decided to return to education and earned her Associate in General Studies degree in 1997.  

“My experience was wonderful. I worked in the CARE office with Flamingo Brown, Tyrone Wilson and Woody Wilson was one of my advisors,” she said. “I remember all the great relationships that were created when I was in this space along with the professors that I had but working here as a student, I think created the atmosphere that made me want to be here because I just felt they cared about me.” 

Monica’s passion for education never left. She describes it as one of her first loves. It led her to   Spring Arbor University where she completed her bachelor’s degree in 1999 and later, earned her and master’s degree in educational administration from Michigan State University in 2004.  

“Jackson College was instrumental in my success because it allowed me to start small,” she said. “I wasn’t in a situation where I could go off to a university with an 8-month-old daughter, so I began my college career here and was able to work here as well. I encourage all young people to start here because for a fraction of the cost that you pay to go to Jackson College, instead of a university, you get the same degree at the same caliber. 

Passion for Education

Right now, she serves on the Jackson College Alumni Advisory Council. She says doing that along with her position at Jackson High School allows her to network with Jackson College employees such as Antoine Breedlove and Brenda Brandon in the multicultural center. She says our Men of Merit and Sisters of Strength allow students at JPS to participate in similar groups there with the goal of continuing participation at JC.  

Jackson Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Beal says Monica epitomizes what it means to be an educator.