Jackie was Born and educated in Edinburgh, where she received a B. Ed degree in Music and History. Jackie started teaching primary in the Borders then moved to Newcastle in 1983 when she married.
Jackie continued teaching at Walkergate Junior in the post of music co-ordinator. After a few years off with children, she began to work at Hotspur Primary, again in the post of music coordinator and latterly as head of the Arts team. Most of her drama and music work has been within her own school, although for seven years she held the position of AST (advanced skills teacher) for Creativity and Culture which involved working with other schools in the city on a variety of arts projects for one day a week. Jackie has also sat on the board of Skills for People – an advocacy charity for adults with learning difficulties.