San Antonio Jay High School graduate Wallace Jefferson, the first African American member of the Texas Supreme Court and the first African American to serve as Chief Justice, announced today he is retiring, effective October 1, 1200 WOAI news reports.


  Jefferson was honored an outstanding graduate of the Northside ISD, and Wallace B. Jefferson Middle School on Schaenfeld Road in Northside is named in his honor.


  Jefferson, 50, has served on the Texas Supreme Court since 2001, when he was appointed by Gov. Rick Perry.  Jefferson has been repeatedly re-elected to the court, and was appointed Chief Justice in 2004.  His current term runs through next year, and Perry will choose his replacement.


  In remarks posted on Jefferson Middle School's web site, Jefferson says "I am no different from any of the students who will be attending Jefferson Middle School.  "If they can focus on what the teachers are teaching them, they can be anything they want."


  Jefferson told a legal newsletter that he is retiring due to 'financial concerns.'  He makes $170,000 a year as Chief Justice, but Jefferson has one child in college and two others in high school, and he could easily make more money in private law practice.