There is no doubt that motherhood is extremely challenging and exceptionally rewarding. As a mom, you want the best for your children, and you’ll go to tremendous lengths to make that happen. An example of that is Episcopal graduate Sharrolyn Jackson Miles ’95. Until very recently, she worked full time as an attorney and advocated for others, while homeschooling her five children.
The 2020 pandemic has forced many parents into video conferences with toddlers in tow or business meetings during naptime. Even the most skilled multi-taskers have found the arrangements challenging. For Sharrolyn, this balance is a way of life. As an Episcopal graduate, she expects a lot from a school. “Y’all gave me high standards,” she says of her own Episcopal experience. “I love Episcopal.” After many heartfelt prayers and an examination of her family’s needs, the decision to homeschool was easy. Sharrolyn lives in La Place and for many years drove her five children into New Orleans daily for school at five different locations. Given the commute time and her desire for an inspiring education, educating her children herself just made sense.
In addition to her passion for motherhood, Sharrolyn is a successful, well-respected attorney and advocate. After Episcopal, she graduated from Tulane University with a degree in architecture. However, Sharrolyn always had an interest in criminal justice, and she was quite familiar with life as a lawyer, growing up with a father in the field. She enrolled in law school at Southern University, where she not only excelled academically but also served as the Executive Editor of the Law Review. For many, this would be a lot to juggle, but during law school, Sharrolyn also married and had two children. Even with the tremendous demands, she graduated near the top of her class. With a degree in hand, Sharrolyn went straight to work as an attorney, and as word spread of her work ethic and compassion for others, she was never at a loss for new opportunities.
Sharrolyn’s resume includes stints as a juvenile prosecutor, corporate defense attorney, code enforcement hearing officer and private practice lawyer. She sees these roles as opportunities to serve others, and it is her combination of unique experiences that allows her to do so in a meaningful way. “I choose to approach people with human dignity and respect,” says Sharrolyn. “I carry that mindset of peace wherever I go.”
In sixth grade, Sharrolyn transferred to Episcopal after being bullied at her previous school because of her passion for books and learning. Once at Episcopal, she experienced a transition to being a minority student among classmates she did not know. However, Sharrolyn excelled, developing confidence along the way. She points to the writing skills she developed, the basketball rebounding abilities she didn’t know she had and the opportunity to interact with people of a variety of backgrounds.
Sharrolyn proudly relates the story of earning the highest mark in Mr. Vance’s eighth grade English class, even after he assured students that the heavens would have to open for it to occur. Her submission on the death penalty changed his mind, and Sharrolyn walked away with the top score. With a chuckle, she remembers being one of the most unathletic students on campus and failing at every attempt to get the basketball in the hoop in PE. With a little help from a school staff member, Sharrolyn learned to shoot and made a “granny” shot right in the basket. That shot was the spark that eventually inspired Sharrolyn to join the team. “I thought I was so good at basketball,” she laughs. She remembers being mentored and the feeling that coaches and faculty supported her. By her senior year, this previously unathletic student earned the Best Defensive Player and Best Rebounder awards, proving that hard work, enthusiasm and a belief in yourself go a long way.
There was another life-changing Episcopal experience for Sharrolyn. She was among a delegation of high school students chosen to travel to Japan. She says the experience introduced her to a different culture in which violence and race were not as prominent as what she knew in America. Ultimately, the combination of her experiences taught Sharrolyn to respect and value diversity and the unique perspectives others can offer. It is something that informs her still today as people who are not even her clients tell her, “you’ll get help” or “you’re going to listen.”
Sharrolyn is now ready for what lies ahead as she launches a bid to be a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal. She is passionate about mother’s rights, women’s rights and the inclusion of diverse people and viewpoints. She hopes to use the lessons she has learned to help others lead better lives with greater opportunities, and she is committed to doing all she can to make that happen.
At Episcopal, teachers strive to prepare students for lives of meaning and purpose, with rigorous academic experiences and the opportunity to explore the world. The hope is to spark a passion for improving the world for the next generation. As a mother, educator, attorney and advocate, Sharrolyn is finding a way to do that and more.