AASA, The School Superintendents Association,announced Dr. Curtis Jones, Jr., as the 2019 National Superintendent of the Year® during theNational Conference on Education in Los Angeles, Calif., on Thursday, February 14. Now in its 32nd year, the National Superintendent of the Year® program, co-sponsored by AASA, VALIC and First Student, celebrates the contributions and leadership of public school superintendents. Hundreds of school system leaders will donvened at AASA’s national conference to discuss the most critical issues in public education.
The four finalists for the 2019 National Superintendent of the Year® were:
- Jeff Butts, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, Indianapolis, Ind.
- Curtis Jones Jr., Bibb County School District, Macon, Ga.
- Mary Ann Ranells, West Ada Joint School District #2, Meridian, Idaho
- Brian Woods, Northside Independent School District, San Antonio, Texas
Dr. Jones was named 2019 Georgia Superintendent of the Year in December 2018 by the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA). The award was presented during a luncheon at the 2018 Georgia School Boards Association/Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Winter Conference in Atlanta.
“I am thankful and humbled by this recognition. I also know that this selection is because of the great work that teachers, principals and students are doing in the classrooms every day. It is because of the hard work that the senior cabinet and central office do to support school every day. And it is because of what parents and the community have done to support our efforts to increase reading proficiency, improve discipline, and make our schools safe, secure and fun places to be,” Dr. Jones said. “Our Board of Education has been fantastic to work. Their leadership and commitment is tremendous. So, I know this is not about me. It is about what we as Bibb County Schools are doing day in and day out. And, none of this could happen without the support and love of my family. Evelyn and my family have been so supportive. We are truly a ‘Victory In Progress’ that I am so proud and so happy to be a part of, and I am thankful.”
“We are so honored that Dr. Jones has been named Superintendent of the Year. His commitment to servant leadership and teamwork has established that foundation that will help our district continue to flourish for years to come,” said Lester Miller, President of the Bibb County Board of Education.
Dr. Jones, a passionate educator dedicated to developing students as scholars, leaders and good citizens, joined the Bibb County School District in April 2015. Using his classroom and administrative experiences, Dr. Jones developed the Bibb County School District’s strategic plan, “Victory in Our Schools.” The strategic plan has five goal areas: increasing student achievement, increasing student and stakeholder engagement, increasing teacher and leader effectiveness, being a reliable organization, and learning and growth. This plan drives the district’s continuous improvement efforts through shared accountability for all stakeholders and resource alignment.
Dr. Jones works to ensure the district’s instructional practices meet the needs of students and prepares them to be college or career ready. Early on, he established one of the district’s main priorities as “getting students reading on grade level.” Through his guidance, district administrators have addressed equity issues by ensuring students have access to similar instructional practices, interventions and supports. Additionally, the development of a District Literacy Plan has led to student growth on the Georgia Milestones Assessments and an increase in the percentage of students reading on grade level.
When he joined the district, Dr. Jones set one of his first long-term goals as raising the district’s graduation rate to 90 percent by 2025. The district has made great gains in improving its graduation rate, which was 58.9 percent in 2014. In 2018, the district graduated nearly 1,300 students with a graduation rate of 78.5 percent. Three of the district’s six high schools had graduation rates greater than 80 percent in 2018, putting the district on track to achieving this goal.
Dr. Tanzy Kilcrease, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning expressed, “Dr. Jones is an exemplary instructional leader. He has a vision for teaching and learning, and he continuously communicates the vision to all stakeholders. He analyzes instructional data on a weekly basis to monitor progress, and he is instrumental in making mid-course corrections to ensure instructional practices will meet the needs of students.”
“Dr. Jones has been instrumental in building the capacity of leaders through an intentional administrative professional learning community guided by the district’s strategic plan. All administrators now focus on the same mission and vision, which has ignited consistent systemic gains as measured through our graduation rates, attendance, student Lexile levels, and overall CCRPI scores,” stated Northeast High School Principal Steven Jones.
Under his leadership, the Bibb County School District has been cited for its work to advance the district and its students. In 2017, the district received Georgia’s College Board Linking Award for having more than 80 percent of juniors and seniors utilizing Khan Academy for SAT preparation. The District also received the 2018 Digital School District Survey Award for Large Student Population Districts category, and its Board of Education has been twice-named a Distinguished Board by the Georgia School Boards Association. The district’s work with elementary schedules was featured in District Management Journal, in an article titled “Raising Achievement and Addressing Equity at Bibb County Schools” and the district was featured as a case study with K12 Insight for its work in improving stakeholder communications through its use of the Let’s Talk!platform.
“Dr. Jones is, by far, a leader who is on the cutting-edge of 21st century educational leadership. He embodies an undeniable passion for teaching and learning, and has a keen sense of how to encourage and cultivate gifts in teachers, support staff, and leaders. His no-nonsense approach to leadership and accountability has created a high-performance culture in Bibb that has ultimately led to marked growth and improvement — both in our performance and in stakeholders’ perception. As a BCSD graduate and current employee, I am pleased in the direction Dr. Jones is leading us. I am confident that his leadership will continue to create significant strides toward college and career readiness for the students of the Bibb County School District,” said Dominique Nichols, 2018 Georgia Teacher of the Year Runner-up.
Dr. Jones is an educator with more than 20 years of experience. He began his career in education as a JROTC instructor with the Griffin-Spalding County School System in Griffin. He became a high school principal and then advanced to assistant superintendent, then superintendent before coming to Bibb County. Before his educational career, Dr. Jones served in the United States Army, retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Nova Southeastern University.
Dr. Jones is engaged in numerous professional and community organizations. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Macon and the Kiwanis Club of Macon. He serves on several community boards including those for the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Central Georgia. Dr. Jones is a past governing board member for The School Superintendents Association (AASA) and past president of the Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA). GSSA awarded him the President’s Award in 2012 and the Bill Barr Leadership Award in 2016. In October 2018, Dr. Jones received the AdvancED Excellence in Education Award for the state of Georgia for his role in leading efforts to improve student learning and outcomes.
He is married to Evelyn, a retired elementary school principal. They have three children and are the proud grandparents of two granddaughters and a grandson.
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