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Jackie Nelson Interview
Jackie Nelson Comlossy, '67 is one of our most admired Lancers. For her gracious qualities and her compassion for others, Jackie is someone just about everyone I talk to from '65 to '68 SHHS remembers.


Our Town: Principal digs Mexican food, James Taylor
South Lake Tahoe
Friday, January 4, 2008

Jackie Nelson is the principal at South Tahoe Middle School.

[You'll see the format here is to interview Jackie, her husband Bob Comlossy, and Jackie's close friend, Beth Delacour.

Jackie Nelson, in her fourth year as South Tahoe Middle School principal, has lived on the South Shore since 1980.

Nelson and Bob Comlossy, a Lake Tahoe Environmental Science magnet school teacher, have been married for almost 25 years and have two daughters, Kevin Ann, 23 and Megan, 21.

Nelson, who said her age is "about 110, going on 27," enjoys hiking and spending time with family. She calls Echo Lakes her "second neighborhood."

Comlossy, a fifth-grade teacher at the magnet school, and Nelson's close friend Beth Delacour, director of human resources at the Lake Tahoe Unified School District, agreed to try and guess Nelson's answers to 10 questions. Let's see how they did:

What's your favorite food?
Jackie: "Any Mexican food."

Bob: "Mexican food."

Beth: "Chinese. P.F. Chang's."

What is America's most pressing educational issue today?
Jackie: "I would say one of the most pressing issues is adequate funding, balanced with expectations that have a good intent but in all likelihood are not reasonable. Expectations for growth in achievement within a school are appropriate, but the No Child Left Behind expectations are punishing to schools."

Bob: "Kids being able to read. Without being able to read, there's a lot of content you can't absorb, and the world is not open to you."

Beth: "Boy, for her right now, it's filling in the gaps with our English-language learners so they have equal access to education moving forward."

What book are you currently reading?
Jackie: "I just finished 'Infidel,' which was outstanding, and I just started 'Three Cups of Tea.' "

Bob: "The latest one was 'Infidel.' She enjoyed it and talked about it quite a bit."

Beth: "She doesn't have time to read a book; she's too busy. She reads news articles as she's drying her hair in the morning. If she tells you she's reading books, she's full of it." (laughs)

What's your favorite type of music?
Jackie: "We just recently saw James Taylor. He is an outstanding performer still. I'm currently enjoying his holiday CD."

Bob: "Her taste comes from the late '60s and early '70s, classic rock mostly. Her favorites are Van Morrison, James Taylor, that kind of thing, the Eagles. If we're talking more contemporary, it would be Norah Jones."

Beth: "She likes all music. We just saw James Taylor, and that was mellow."

If you could be in any profession other than your own, what would it be?
Jackie: "Probably if I was doing anything else, I'd be in education somewhere else or playing with either psychology or financial planning."

Bob: "I would say something that deals with people, probably some sort of counseling thing. She's shown some interest in financial planning, but the main thrust would be dealing with people."

Beth: "She has an interest in being something in the realm of financial planning, in terms of getting educators ready for their retirements."

What living person do you most admire?
Jackie: "Probably that would be my daughters. I just think they have a lot of qualities that will enable them to create strong lives for themselves. They'll be contributors and independent."

Bob: "I'd have to say me, of course." (laughs)

Beth: "That's a really tough one. I think she very much admires her two daughters. She's very proud of the girls."

What historical figure do you most admire?
Jackie: "There really isn't one."

Bob: "Nobody off the top of my head. I would have to go back through women leaders."

Beth: "We've never talked about any of that stuff."

If you were single and had to marry a famous person, who would it be?
Jackie: "That probably would be my husband. We're still happily married after all these years, and he's a great partner."

Bob: "Ha. There's nobody for her but me. I can't come up with one."

Beth: "She would have fun with Mel Gibson. He's got the intellect that would keep her interested and a sense of humor to keep her laughing."

Which would you choose if you had the chance: Discover a cure for all cancers, or travel back in time to prevent World War II?
Jackie: "I would go after a cure for all cancers, because there's a lot of cancer in my family, and I have known far too many people whose lives have been devastated. I would like to wipe that out for everyone going forward."

Bob: "She'd probably go for the cancer, mainly because she's such a people person."

Beth: "She'd cure all cancers. We've had a lot of friends and professionals who have been affected. It's really touched our school district here."

If you were stranded on an island with the basic amenities to survive, what one personal item would you take?
Jackie: "I would take a pencil and paper, because I'd be a writer. The English major in me comes out."

Bob: "I want to say her computer, but she wouldn't have the Internet. I'd probably say a good book."

Beth: "She'd take me to keep her entertained."