Welcome to Jackson County Comprehensive High School!
We hope that you will find our site informative as it gives you a glimpse of the wide variety of activities and experiences that make our school special.
All of us at JCCHS are excited to welcome our students for this year, and we are looking forward to helping our senior class leave a lasting legacy of excellence.
We all want our school to provide a challenging and nurturing environment for all of our students as we prepare them for college and careers. We want to excel in academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities to provide our students the very best education and to help them become well-rounded and productive citizens. Our teachers, administration, and staff look forward to partnering with parents and the community to help JCCHS become a model of excellence for other schools around the country.
Because we see education as a partnership, we hope that if you have any questions or would like to become more involved with JCCHS, you will reach out to us.
Thank you again for visiting — have a great school year.
And, as always… it’s a Great Day to Be a Panther!
Jason Wester, Interim Principal
Jason Wester was named interim principal for Jackson County Comprehensive High School in 2019, after joining the JCCHS administrative staff in 2018 as an assistant principal. He served three years before that as a member of the Social Studies department, teaching AP U.S. History, U.S. History, and Economics. He was a member of the Panther football coaching staff and helped coach the Panther tennis team.
Mr. Wester has worked as a social studies teacher and an administrator in several different states and districts during his 21-year career in education. He taught social studies and math in middle schools in Florida and North Carolina; served as an administrator in Florida at Chasco Middle School and in Gwinnett County at Dacula Middle School, and as principal of Jefferson Middle School for three years; and returned to Jackson County schools in 2014, working at West Jackson Middle School for three years before joining the JCCHS staff.
Mr. Wester was raised in Florida and graduated from Countryside High School in Clearwater, Fla. He earned a B.A. in History and a MEd in Social Studies Education from the University of Florida. He later earned a MEd in Education Leadership from The University of South Florida. He also is a graduate of the Gwinnett County Public Schools Quality-Plus Leadership Academy.
In his spare time, Mr. Wester enjoys reading historical literature and watching sports with his family.
Kendra Phillips, Associate Principal
Kendra Phillips joined the Jackson County School System in 1990 at North Jackson teaching 6th, 7th, and 8th grade mathematics. She moved to the high school setting when the new Jackson County Comprehensive High School opened in the fall of 1991 and taught math for fifteen years. She taught courses such as Applied Math, Algebra I, and Trigonometry. During her time as a teacher, Mrs. Phillips was involved in the advisement process and creation of a summer program where students could recover credit for courses failed the previous year. Mrs. Phillips stepped into the Assistant Principal role in the summer of 2006 and was named Associate Principal in 2019.
Mrs. Phillips grew up in Jackson County and graduated as Valedictorian from Jackson County High School in 1984. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in Mathematics Education. She earned a Master’s degree in Middle School Education from Brenau University and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership from the University of Alabama.
During her free time, Mrs. Phillips enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing the keyboard at church, shopping, and traveling.
Melissa Gillespie, Assistant Principal
Melissa Gillespie began her teaching career in New Hanover County Schools in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 2002. She taught Social Studies at E.A. Laney High School in Wilmington from 2002 until 2014.
In 2013, she was recognized as the North Carolina Social Studies Teacher of the Year, New Hanover County Schools Teacher of the Year, and North Carolina Southeastern Regional Teacher of the Year. She served on the Governor’s North Carolina Teacher Advisory Council from 2013-2015 and as the District Coordinator for Pre-Service Teachers from 2013 until 2018.
In 2015, Mrs. Gillespie stepped into an Assistant Principal role at John T. Hoggard High School in Wilmington, and served in that capacity in 2018. Mrs. Gillespie and her family moved to Jackson County in the Spring of 2018 and enjoy living in the area.
She joined the Jackson County School System in 2018 teaching Social Studies and serving as the International Baccalaureate Coordinator at Jackson County Comprehensive High School. Mrs. Gillespie was named Assistant Principal at Jackson County Comprehensive High School during the summer of 2019.
Mrs. Gillespie received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Political Science and Secondary Education with a minor in American Studies. She earned a Master’s degree in School Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a Specialist degree in Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision.
In her free time, Mrs. Gillespie enjoys spending time with family and friends, CrossFit, reading, and traveling (especially back “home” to her beach town).
Levert Hartnup, Assistant Principal
Lev Hartnup joined Jackson County Comprehensive High School for the 2019-20 school year after spending the previous two years as Assistant Principal at Valdosta High School. Mr. Hartnup began teaching in 2006, and spent 11 years teaching business and technology courses at both the middle and high school levels before moving into administration. He also has coached baseball, softball, and soccer at the high school level.
Mr. Hartnup was born in Snellville, Ga., and attended schools in both Gwinnett and Henry counties. He graduated from Valdosta State University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Education. He also earned a Masters degree in Educational Administration and Organizational Leadership from Grand Canyon University, and a Specialist degree in Teacher Leadership from Valdosta State University.
Mr. Hartnup is an avid Atlanta Braves fan, and also roots for the Georgia Bulldogs. He is married to his college sweetheart, and they have 3 beautiful girls together. He also enjoys cooking/grilling, traveling to the beach and mountains, and exercising in his free time.
Brad Hayes, Athletic Director
Brad Hayes serves as Athletic Director of Jackson County Comprehensive High School as well as teaches AP Human Geography. He has been teaching and coaching at the high school level since 1998.
Coach Hayes coached for 12 years at Collins Hill High School before joining the staff at Jackson County High School in 2015. At Collins Hill, he had the privilege of coaching several players who played at both the collegiate and professional levels, as well as several teams that had great success in one of the hardest regions in Georgia.
He and his family live in Jackson County and he enjoys spending time with them in his free time.
Shannon Lawrence is Named 2018-19 Teacher of the Year for JCCHS
Dr. Shannon Lawrence was named the 2018-2019 Georgia Teacher of the Year for JCCHS, the second time he has received the honor, and he was later named TOTY for the Jackson County School System for 2018-2019.
Georgia’s Teacher of the Year Program (GTOTY) annually spotlights the teaching profession and recognizes outstanding public school teachers at the local and state levels. The program is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education. It is a prestigious awards program that focuses on excellence in teaching.
Dr. Lawrence obtained his BSA and Master’s degrees in agricultural education and leadership from the University of Georgia before starting his career teaching at West Jackson Middle School in 2004. He was previously named JCCHS Teacher of the Year in 2008.
Dr. Lawrence obtained his PhD in Agricultural Education at Texas A&M University, in 2012 with his research focusing on the retention of induction teachers. He has designed and instructed courses at Texas A&M, Clemson University and Emmanuel College. He returned to JCCHS in 2015 and started as work-based learning and youth apprenticeship program coordinator for the school system in July 2019.
Dr. Lawrence strives to build rigor in students while reinforcing the need for solid character traits in future career placement. He has worked with the Kubota Corporation in efforts to teach industry relevant practices in the classroom. He is often found engaging students in hands-on application in mechanics and science. In a world inundated with technological connectivity, Dr. Lawrence attempts to instill work ethic, critical thinking and time management with his students, while stressing their need to positively interact in team and leadership roles.
Dr. Lawrence has consistently guided students to success on the state and national level in FFA. Dr. Lawrence considers his role as “teacher of future educators” one of the most important. It is no surprise that many of his students have gone on to become teachers in agricultural education with his encouragement.
Congratulations, Dr. Lawrence! We are proud of your hard work, dedication, and on-going pursuit of excellence on behalf of our students at JCCHS.
Previous Teachers’ of the Year for JCCHS
2017-2018 – Matt Bolt
2016-2017 – Crystal Colley
2015-2016 – Denise Wilbanks
2014-2015 – Jason Powers
Address: 1668 Winder Highway, Jefferson, GA 30549
School hours: 8:00 AM-3:10 PM
(Doors open at 7:15 a.m.)
ADVISEMENT – Checkout monthly advisement lessons here.
DEPARTMENTS & PROGRAMS – List of faculty by department and school-wide programs such as Foothills, Graduation Honors Requirements, & Yearbook.
JCAT – Jackson County Academic Team is a joint venture between teachers, parents, & community to serve JCCHS students.