by Johannes Brann

Mr. David Bruce, President of the Northeast Vernon County R-1 School District School Board has announced the hiring of Ms. Christine (Christy) Jones to be the district’s superintendent beginning July 1 of this year. Currently, she is Assistant Superintendent of the Southern Boone County R-1 School District in Ashland.

“We were blessed to have three strong candidates to interview and from which to choose,” said Bruce. We selected Ms. Jones because of her many years of experience in teaching and administration and because, after serving for years in larger sized districts, she wants to get back to her roots in a smaller district such as NEVC. We look forward to her leadership.”

This past week Jones made an on-site visit to both the elementary school in Schell City and the High School in Walker, taking time not only to tour the facilities but also to meet and hear from staff; after a full day she sat down for an interview.

“While I was born in St. Joseph, I was raised in Plattsburg which is where I graduated from high school in 1993,” began Jones.

With her father a butcher, mother a beautician and one older sister, she emphasized that while her parents insisted she was to earn a college degree, they were a bit surprised when she went into education and earned multiple degrees with a successful career.

“O.K., let me deal with something right off,” said Jones.

“I’ve climbed the education ladder—so to speak—and yes, when I was working for eight years at the Leavenworth school district, we had 4,000 students with 1,300 in the high school alone. Eventually, I worked my way to becoming high school principal there, so I know good sized schools. But…”

Jones paused and took a deep breath.

“While I worked with many great people in Leavenworth as well as in Plattsburg, Kearney, St, Joseph, Marshall and now Southern Boone County, I’ve got eight-years left before I can retire and I want to slow down, be closer to family and work in a district where I can have contact with teachers and students with a strong sense of community; those are things I really miss!”

Long before entering educational administration, Jones began as a science teacher, coaching softball and basketball.

The superintendent-elect said, “I liked being able to know the skills of each of my players and come up with plays and a game plan that played to their strengths. I got into administration because I realized I had the ability to do something similar, first at the building level and then district-wide.”

Jones has a 21-year-old son who works for a steel company.

“Raising him taught me to focus on helping students find their passion and then creating a plan to help them make that happen,” said Jones.

Asked about the importance of test scores, she began by stressing how the curriculum must be aligned to the state standards and then using various tools to help teachers close the gaps between what students know and yet need to master.

“Look,” said Jones, “this doesn’t happen in a year but by being intentional and targeting deficit areas; I know significant improvements can be made.”

She paused before adding, “In the end, it’s not about numbers; it’s about individual children who so quickly become adults and will be the future of this area and our society in general. I want to make sure that in everything we do in this district, we do right by them; they and their future are what matters!”

Jones’ hiring was necessitated when, in the closed session of December’s regular school board meeting, current Superintendent Chris Holcomb, informed the board of his impending retirement at the close of the current school year; he is completing his second year.

Commented Holcomb the next day, “For too long I’ve put off helping out with family matters but I realize I need to step up and so I will be doing just along with working in agriculture. So June 30 will be my last day; I’m retiring from education.”