10 Things You Didn't Know About Lisa Jackson

Jackson is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

By + More
Lisa Jackson

1. Lisa Jackson was born Feb. 8, 1962, in Philadelphia. She was adopted by Benjamin and Marie Perez when she was 2 weeks old and grew up in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.

2. Her father, a postal worker, died at age 49 when Jackson was a high school freshman.

3. She was first in her class at St. Mary's Dominican High School and gave the valedictory address at her 1979 graduation.

4. She was a summa cum laude graduate of the School of Chemical Engineering at Tulane University and has a master's in chemical engineering from Princeton.

5. Jackson worked in the private sector for two years and then joined the Environmental Protection Agency in 1987.

6. She worked for the EPA for 16 years in Washington and New York City in a number of capacities dealing with hazardous waste sites and enforcement.

7. She joined the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection in 2002 and became commissioner in 2006. At Jackson's urging, New Jersey became the third state in the country to pass global warming legislation that mandated steep emissions cuts.

8. In October 2008, Gov. Jon Corzine named Jackson as his chief of staff, citing her "leadership, work ethic, and skills at handling complex issues." She served in that position just two weeks before Obama tapped her for the EPA.

9. She was the first African-American woman to head a state environmental agency and is the first African-American to head the EPA.

10. She is married to Kenny Jackson and has two sons, Marcus and Brian.


  • New Orleans Times Picayune
  • New York Times
  • Star-Ledger
  • EPA bio
  • NJ DEP bio
  • NJ DEP Swearing-in Speech