BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Jackson Education is having a soft summer opening this month. TAPinto Basking Ridge sat down with the owner, Walker Jackson, to find out more about his business.
What made you decide to open a location here?
Walker: I guess my first thought is “why not?” Every time I drive into town I am taken by how beautiful it is, how nice its people are, and how much history there is here. This is our third location and, besides the fact that these are the demographics we serve and the type of community we thrive in, my parents just moved here so - easy drop off for my little ones when my wife and I need help!
Is Jackson Education a franchise?
No, definitely not. I would like to think that we are the exact opposite. I captain the ship but I am only one of many excellent people we have working here. Most of us are parents too and we know the anxieties of having children - we partner with parents to create the best outcomes for their children. To us there is no more important job in the world. We are definitely not a one-size fits all kind of place.
What are Jackson Education’s specialties?
Walker: What we are best at is getting kids into college. I was a high school teacher for a long time and, because I was teaching both junior and senior AP sections, I got very good at helping students get into the country’s best colleges. Towards these ends, we offer standardized test prep, college advising, college essay editor partnering, and advanced placement prep.
How is Jackson Education different from other tutoring firms in the area?
Walker: That’s a great question. We are the only firm whose team is built of expert teachers - the best in their fields. What I saw in my decade and a half of teaching AP English was that the school I taught in was like a lot of schools: there were a few great teachers, a lot of good ones, and a lot of not-so-good ones. My thought was, “what if I could have a school where parents could access all purely stellar teachers in one place?” Jackson Education is the realization of that dream. Of course, that means I get to work with people whom I consider the best educators in their fields, and that’s also a self-actualization piece for me. Further, we use data in our test prep classes and have built a platform that takes the best of what’s happening in the public school and then offers it in the private one-on-one and group setting.
Ultimately, all of our teachers have at least ten years of experience - most of us have much more - but personally that’s when I really felt like I knew my stuff well enough to go out on my own. Finally, we don’t hire college kids or people who can simply score well on the test; to me that’s sort of like getting your Audi fixed at the local bike shop. So, we are ultimately different in three major ways: the qualifications and experience of myself and my staff, the proprietary data tools we have developed, and the overall quality of our establishment.
How long have you been in business?
Walker: I started teaching in the late nineties, I started one-on-one tutoring in 2000, and Jackson Education opened its first location in 2010.
What is your least expensive product?
Walker: Anything we can do in a group is much more affordable than one-on-one. Our SAT and ACT prep classes are small - no more than 10 kids - but they cost about a third of the hourly rate of one-on-one tutoring and, especially for a sophomore who is just starting out in test prep, it is the best place to start. We also use the small group for AP prep classes that we hold in March and April about six weeks before those tests - probably AP Calculus and AP Physics are our most popular courses in AP.
What is your most expensive product?
One-on-one GRE and/or LSAT tutoring. It’s just difficult stuff and we have to invest a lot of time into our own prep. To me, a tutor not only needs to be able to get every question correct, he or she also needs to be able to explain it three different ways. That takes time and time costs money.
When will you be fully open?
We are almost there now! We have been doing construction on the inside since April, it’s important to me that the space possesses a balance of learning and relaxed vibes; I think we got it right! Our Grand Opening will be on Saturday, September 22nd.
Jackson Education is located at 47 S Finley Ave. in Basking Ridge. For information about their services visit their website, www.jackson-education.com, or call (973)479-4946.