Jessie Anne Compton is a marvel of energy and creativity at Northshore Elementary School, where she has assumed many tasks beyond simply teaching music — all the while, doing everything with a cheerful smile and unending enthusiasm.
Only in her second year of teaching, which would be enough for most educators fresh out of college, Compton also has participated on the school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention System committee, is leading the upcoming “Peter Pan Jr.” school musical and tirelessly continues to look for new ways to help those around her.
“She’s just fantastic,” said NES assistant principal JoLea Behrens, who approached farragutpress about highlighting Compton’s passion for her work. “I have to say her determination to take on so many things and be successful is quite impressive. Taking lead on the PBIS team, plays a large part in recognizing and rewarding students and teachers for following expectations … and then working on Peter Pan — those two alone deserve recognition.
“Plus, her happy smiling face each day brightens up everyone’s day. She’s amazing.”
Compton’s co-workers are equally enthusiastic.
“No matter how trying the day, you will always get something positive from Ms. Compton,” fellow teacher Jill Luby said. “Perhaps it is delivering a smile down the hallway, an interest in ways to boost staff morale or a song to boost your spirit on the morning announcements — she’s your girl.
“She has a way of connecting with all students, teachers and support staff that makes them all feel happy. Jessie Anne is intentional about spreading joy while teaching. This is not just a job to her — this is her mission.”
It is one that, in addition to being heartfelt, was instilled early in childhood: Compton followed her mother and father into teaching.
She grew up in Chattanooga, attending a Christian school where she said her parents taught her “to be well-rounded,” encouraging her in sports, education and her love of music.
Compton came to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she studied vocal music education and performed as part of the UT Singers, which at the time was a vocal jazz ensemble.
“I learned a lot of different music, and it opened up a whole new world for me,” she said following a lesson for a third-grade class on Jazz “scatting.”
“I love sharing everything I have learned with my students.”
Students were equally eager, with several repeatedly volunteering to try their skills in front of their classmates and engaging affectionately with Compton as they lined up to leave.
“I love being here, and I love what I do,” Compton said. “My favorite thing about what I do is to instill a love of music and respect for all kinds of music. Not everyone will go on to orchestra, band or choir, but what I want is for them to remember their elementary music class as a place where they had fun and developed love and respect for music.”
While music is a big focus, Compton’s main goal is to instill kindness and respect through her own gentle and positive demonstrations. She is quick with a kind comment or word of praise and does not shy from hugs for support and encouragement — both in and out of the classroom.
“She really goes out of her way to check on her students,” fellow teacher Sarah Pope said. “The other day I saw her walking around the cafeteria, monitoring for PBIS and also checking on students and asking about their day.”
The students also recognize that quality, Behrens noted.
“When I asked the kids the one word that they all kept saying, it was ‘caring,’ which is so amazing!,” she said. “Others said ‘fun,’ ‘happy,’ ‘wonderful.’”
Compton also has been leading rehearsals for “Peter Pan,” which has a cast of more than 200 students who will present the show Friday and Saturday, April 12-13.
“We didn’t set a cap,” she said. “I’m just grateful so many kids wanted to be part of it.”
As a goal, “I want to be what my former teachers and co-workers have been for me,” Compton said. “I want to give that back. You never know what seeds you are planting, but kindness and love are what you want to pass on every day.”
“People have been so kind to me,” she said. “This is a happy place to be. It is a warm and welcoming environment, and everyone has just been wonderful.”
“I want to be what my former teachers and co-workers have been for me,” she added. “I want to give that back. You never know what seeds you are planting, but kindness and love are what you want to pass on every day.”