“The stars were in alignment,” is how Jennifer Macon describes her journey to Core. Having graduated from UCLA in 1999 with a degree in African American Studies with a specialization in English Literature, she got dressed up and pounded the pavement looking for a teaching job. From a family of teachers, it was her destiny (if there is such a thing) to be a teacher. Little did she know that she was actually destined to be a student first, teacher second. She walked into Cleveland High School’s then principal Al Weiner’s office and asked if he was hiring.
“What started as a fluke, became my life’s passion,” she says, “and I almost lost it.” Ms. Macon explains, “I had three interviews that day: one with Rita Hall, one with Bill Paden, and one with the Neil Anstead, founder of Cleveland’s Humanities Magnet and Humanitas programs across the LAUSD. I was terrified. Twenty-two, fresh out of UCLA. I thought I couldn’t handle it, so I turned down the job, until Donna Hill invited me to breakfast the next day to talk about the program. We went to Denny’s, and by the end of my meal, I was sold. Haven’t looked back since; in fact, I say thank you everyday that I got a second chance.”
Ms. Macon has been teaching at Cleveland ever since. She began on the 9th grade team teaching Honors English. In 2003, she moved onto the 11th grade teaching team to teach Honors Humanities. In 2008, she became the 11th grade coordinator, while continuing to develop as a student and teacher in the classroom. In 2011, she was asked to replace her good friend, Gabriel Lemmon, as Magnet Coordinator, only the third person in thirty years to hold the post.
“I was raised as a teacher in this program, so I feel honored, and humbled, to carry the mantle. To me, Core represents all of the realities and all of the possibilities of good education. There really is no place like Core!”
Ms. Macon is currently the liaison to the Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP). Visit http://www.laep.org to see how Cleveland Humanities Magnet continues to be a model for education across the district and beyond.