New SCHS Special Education teacher Jessica Dickerson is a kickboxing mother of two who advocates for proper special education


Tatiana Serrano-Zeledon

Dickerson used to help her autistic brother during her junior high school career and saw the lack of special education programs.

People are racing against the clock, trying to complete their set but still following their guidelines. A room filled with people punching bags, dropping weights and yelling is very familiar to Jessica Dickerson.
Dickerson is a new addition to SCHS’s special education department. When she is not occupied with work and her two children, ages one and three, Dickerson works out in a kickboxing fitness class. She enjoys that the class has an open schedule.
“I just like that it doesn’t matter what time of day, you can go in and they always have the bells going so you don’t have to follow a class schedule” Dickerson said.
Dickerson married her husband Alex and they moved in together during their sophomore year at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. when they were 19 years old. She said they are not the same people they were ten years ago, but their marriage has remained strong.
“Rather than grow apart, which happens, ultimately, I feel like we grew up together,” Dickerson said.
Growing up, Dickerson would help her parents with her autistic brother. Even though she was in junior high when her brother was attending elementary school, Dickerson was able to help in various ways, such as taking her brother to school. Their parents decided to homeschool both of them later on because they believed her brother was not receiving proper attention at his school.
“My parents felt like his school was not addressing all the needs that he had, or they didn’t know how to advocate for what he needed,” Dickerson said.
According to Dickerson, had the current laws and special education programs existed when she was in school, her brother would have been able to experience the full student life.
“Now, I think there is a lot more information out there at this point in time where maybe they would have had more support keeping him in public school,” Dickerson said.
During her first few years of teaching as a moderate special day class teacher, Dickerson experienced various difficult situations. Because Disckerson was the only person on campus in her educational position, she had to figure things out herself. However, Dickerson values the experience.
“I felt like, definitely, even though it was difficult, it made me a lot stronger, a lot more knowledgeable by the end of it,” Dickerson said.