Tomorrow is her last day; she is cleaning out her office. The wall behind her desk, once decorated by diplomas, plaques and certificates now only sports empty picture hooks.
Her responsibilities during her last week at work are similar to those when she joined BISD: mathematical analysis.
“I’m analyzing the results of the first round of STAAR tests.”
Math is her proverbial strong suit; her father was a petroleum geologist who minored in math.
Thanks to her father’s profession, she lived in Oklahoma, Florida, Colorado, North Dakota, Wyoming, Louisiana, Indiana, Georgia and, finally, Texas.
Along with a master’s degree in education administration from Southwest Texas State University and a doctorate in education leadership from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Jones holds a mathematics certificate from the University of Houston.
“I’m an analytical person,” she says, “so, I like to figure out problems.”
But if her expertise in math comes from her father, her interest in music comes from her mother, who was a music educator with a master’s degree in music education.
“To me, math and music are similar. They both have a system of symbols, a language of their own. There’s an organization to both of them.”
She mostly credits a high school teacher for honing her interest in math. “He also was the football coach,” she says. “When I have to teach geometry or algebra, I find I use some of the techniques he used. I always enjoy telling people my best math teacher was the football coach.”
Before joining BISD, Jones taught math and music in Louisiana.
“I saw an ad in the paper for a K-12 mathematics consultant for Beeville ISD.
When she began with BISD 17 1/2 years ago, performance testing was just getting underway.
“Today, there’s no question that the tests are harder,” she admits. “But what was true for students when I came here is true for students now: stay in school and work hard, and you will be able to pass.”
During her tenure, she has seen a change in the way math is taught.
“It is more application-based,” she says. “Problems given to the student are not all theory. They show students they can apply what they have learned in the actual world.”
Jones modestly says that her efforts have raised the district’s math proficiency.
She also played a pivotal role in helping initiate a district-wide teacher-mentor program.
At 60, it is time for a change.”
“I’m fine, but I have been through a lot in the past year.”
Her husband, Scott, a beloved teacher at A.C. Jones high school, died in June while battling cancer. When he was diagnosed, many of his students shaved their heads in support, knowing that chemotherapy would cause Scott to lose his hair.
Now in her 33rd year in public education, she is to be a contract math consultant for the Region 2 Education Service Center in Corpus Christi.
“My job will be easier,” she says. “I believe I will be helping districts and campuses in the region in some of the same areas that I do now at BISD.”
Jones plans to commute.
“I have friends here,” she says — including Lady, a part (or all) Blue Heeler. “She is a working dog. She won’t let me sleep in the morning later than 5:30. I’m her herd.”
If her job is easier, her schedule isn’t.
Her plans include singing, music, sewing, quilting and traveling — she has just completed the itinerary for this summer: visiting Great Britain, Scotland and the channel islands.
“I’m not slowing down; I’m just changing direction.”
Bill Clough is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 122, or at beepic@mySouTex.com.