Sandra Sandlin Jackson, age 85, peacefully passed away on November 19, 2022 at her residence in Rome, GA.
Sandra was born May 27, 1937 in Chattanooga, TN. She was preceded in death by her husband of 58 years, Charlie Sheridan Jackson; her parents, Eleanor Rike Sandlin and Luther Davis “Sandy” Sandlin; and her brother, Joseph Rike Sandlin, Sr. of Chattanooga, TN. She is survived by her brother, Marion David Sandlin of Augusta, GA, five nephews (Steven, Rike, Jeff, Stuart, Brian) and their families; closest friends, Melissa Friend, Kathy Pack, Kim Knight; goddaughter, Katie Sudbury; and many beloved friends, neighbors, and former students.
As Sandy Sandlin’s and Eleanor Sandlin’s daughter, Sandra grew up with a love of baseball; her dad was the athletic trainer for the Chattanooga Lookouts Baseball Club and athletic trainer for the University of Chattanooga, and her mom was the assistant to Joe Engel at Chattanooga Baseball, Inc. for years. Sandra especially loved her Atlanta Braves and would discuss with anyone the players, their stats, as well as her strategy if she were coach.
Sandra attended Tusculum College in Greeneville, TN where she met her future husband, Sheridan. After graduating in 1961 with a B.A. degree in Education, she and Sheridan went on to receive their M.Ed. degrees from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
She began her teaching journey in 1961 at Debusk Elementary in Greeneville, TN. She taught third grade at Resaca Elementary School in Gordon County, GA. Teaching was definitely in her DNA, and her true calling was working with teenagers. She began her high school teaching career at Dalton High School (1964–66) where she taught English, and then moved to Calhoun High School (1966–73), where again, she English as well as directed senior plays. While at CHS she was named STAR teacher in 1969. In 1973, she and Sheridan moved to Rome, where she began teaching at East Rome High School and would remain until her retirement from the public school classroom. During her tenure at ERHS (1973-92) Mrs. Jackson taught English and drama and was named STAR teacher in 1974, 1978, 1983, 1986 and 1990; she was also school and district Teacher of the Year in 1981. In addition, she began the drama program at ERHS, directing many one-acts and musicals. After retiring from teaching, Mrs. Jackson spent another 12 years at Shorter University overseeing student teachers in Shorter’s education program.
In 1989 Mrs. Jackson was named the recipient of the Robert Knowles Memorial Award by the Georgia Association of Teacher Educators as Outstanding Supervising Teacher of the Year. This award recognizes a classroom teacher whose teaching and supervision excellence merits special recognition for mentoring pre-service teachers.
To say that Mrs. Jackson was an extremely talented teacher is an understatement. She epitomized the definition of a truly gifted and talented teacher. She had high expectations for her students and let them know that she would accept no less than their best. She touched the lives of many throughout her career. After she retired, when she ran into former students, they would remind her that they could still recite the prologue to The Canterbury Tales and often thanked her for their love of books and the English language.
Mrs. Jackson was a member of various professional and civic organizations: National Education Association, Georgia Association of Educators, Rome Association of Educators, Georgia Council of Teachers of English, and Delta Kappa Gamma Society International.
Many thanks and eternal gratitude to Mrs. Kim M. Knight, her devoted friend and former colleague at East Rome High School, who lovingly served as Mr. J’s caretaker and Mrs. J’s caregiver after Mr. Jackson’s death, to dear friends, Jane Palmer, Cody Crumley, Kevin Van der Horn for their willingness to help at anytime, and very special thanks also to the staffs of Heyman Hospice and Home Instead, who provided loving care during her last days.
Mr. and Mrs. Jackson’s wishes were to donate their bodies to science. A public tribute to Mrs. Jackson and a dedication ceremony will take place at 10:30 A.M. on May 6th at the East Rome Monument located in the East Bend Shopping Center; there, benches will be placed in memory of Mrs. Jackson and dedicated to all who passed through the halls of East Rome High School. Her remains will be placed next to her husband’s in the Union Temple Cemetery in Greeneville, TN on May 25th at 12:00 P.M.
Donations in her honor may be made to the Floyd-Rome Retired Educators Association (FRREA) Scholarship fund. These scholarships are presented to students who choose to enter the teaching profession and will allow others to teach and touch lives in the classroom as Mrs. Jackson did. Please remit to
FRREA, c/o Judy Angle, 265 Yarbrough Road, Aragon, GA 30104.
On learning of her death, a former student posted the following about Mrs. Jackson on Facebook: "If I could choose from every teacher who breathes on this earth the smile, the laugh, the voice, the heart, the ability to challenge, the encouragement, the kindness, the knowledge, the friendship, the excellence—every detail and feature to the smallest sentence punctuation—they would ALL be Sandra Jackson. Yours was a life well-lived, a journey fully completed, and a life which impacted hundreds, if not thousands, of other young lives.”