Curtis Jones, a U.S. Army veteran who has led Georgia’s Bibb County school system since 2015, was named Thursday as the 2019 AASA National Superintendent of the Year.
Jones was selected from a group of four finalists that included Jeff Butts from the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township in Indianapolis, Ind; Mary Ann Ranells, the superintendent of the West Ada Joint School District #2 in Meridian, Idaho; and Brian Woods, the superintendent of the Northside Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas.
Reading and literacy have been a key focus for Jones since he became superintendent of this district, which is headquartered in Macon, but includes urban, suburban and rural communities. He’s also worked to forge strong ties with community partners, including the United Way of Central Georgia and the Macon Chamber of Commerce, to support district initiatives.
The district’s strategic plan, which Jones developed, “Victory in Progress,” has five key planks, including boosting student achievement, improving teacher and leader effectiveness, and strengthening stakeholder engagement.
Jones also set his eyes on boosting the district’s graduation rate to 90 percent by 2025. It has since risen from 58.9 percent in 2014, the year before Jones took the helm in Bibb County, to 78.5 percent last year.
“I am thankful and humbled by this recognition,” Jones said in a statement issued by the district after the announcement.
“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.”
Jones also praised the Bibb County board of education for its commitment, which he called “tremendous.”
“I know this is not about me,” he continued. “It is about what we as Bibb County Schools are doing day in and day out.”
The award was announced in Los Angeles at the national conference for the AASA, the School Superintendents Association.
The group’s executive director, Daniel A. Domenech, called all four finalists for the award, “champions for children.”
The award, which is given annually, comes with a $10,000 college scholarship to a high school student from the high school from which the winning superintendent graduated or to a school now serving the same area.
Photo: Curtis Jones, superintendent of the Bibb County school system in Macon, Ga., was selected as the 2019 Superintendent of the Year. Photo courtesy of the AASA, the School Superintendents Association.
A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.