Dr. Ken Jackson, state supervisor of instruction for the Southeast Region with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, has been appointed Director of Aviation Operations at Southeast Missouri State University.
Jackson, of Dexter, Missouri, will begin his new duties Jan. 25 and will work to coordinate operations, promotional activities and student services for Southeast’s Professional Pilot degree program and the Bachelor of Science in unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) degree.
Southeast’s UAS program launched in fall 2017 and the Professional Pilot program will be available to students this fall. Both academic programs are housed in the Department of Engineering and Technology in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The University has partnered with U.S. Aviation Group for pilot instruction and the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport as a location for pilot instruction.
Jackson is dedicated to preparing students to succeed in school and for successful careers, said Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success.
“He is a proven leader with a long and demonstrated history of innovation leading to greater opportunities for students,” she said. “ His enthusiasm for the aviation industry, combined with his understanding of K-12 education, will be an asset to the success of the new professional pilot program.”
The Director of Aviation Operations will help create and execute the vision and strategy to develop and strengthen Southeast’s Professional Pilot and UAS degrees, to encourage individuals to pursue careers in these industries; and to help the students successfully transition into college.
Jackson said he is excited to work with Southeast, US Aviation Group and Cape Regional Airport to bring new career pathway opportunities to students.
“Knowing there has been and will continue to be a significant shortage of pilots, I look forward to the opportunity to share this career information with high school counselors and students as they develop their plans of study,” he said. “Hopefully, they will take a close look at what aviation has to offer and select Southeast to help them accomplish this goal.”
Jackson has served as state supervisor of instruction for the Southeast Region since 2012, where he oversaw the region’s Missouri School Improvement Program (MSIP), Comprehensive School Improvement Plans, school finance, teacher certification, parent concerns and student safety; implementation of Alternative Methods of Instruction (AMI-X); and the development of career pathways for middle school and high school students.
Jackson earned his Private Pilot’s License (PPL) in May 2017, and is a current member of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Stoddard County Flyers LLC, a local flying club based in Dexter. Since earning his PPL, he has researched career opportunities in aviation and have been working to establish aviation education programs with schools in his region.
He holds a Doctor of Education degree in education leadership from Saint Louis University; a Master of Arts with a major in secondary school administration and supervision, and a Specialist in Education with a major in educational administration both from Southeast Missouri State University; and a Bachelor of Science with a major in physical education and health from Murray State University.
Jackson previously served as superintendent of Dexter Schools from 2003-2010.