Jones: Continue to help kids through life
Published 9:44 am Thursday, February 8, 2024
Following is a profile on one of six candidates for the Republican nomination for Davie County Board of Education. Voters will select four of the six in the March 5 primary, likely to be elected in November because no other party candidate filed.
Knight Lane, Advance
Susan Jones, wife; Children, Peyton Jones,
Patterson Jones, PresleyJones, Anne Marie Jones, David Jones
Basic Law Enforcement Training, Forsyth Tech;
Salem Christian (high school) School
Early retired, Davie Sheriff’s Office, lieutenant over all school resource officers; Advance Country Store, 20 years; Advance Storage Units, two years; Triple P. Real Estate Investments
In the Community
• Assistant coach, cross country, Davie High School, 8 years
• Asst. coach with wife (who teaches PE at Ellis Middle) for girl’s basketball team
• Young Life leader, working with and teaching high school students about Jesus and importance of relationships with Him
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Jones: I have always had a passion for helping kids and working with them in different ways. Since taking an early retirement from the Davie County Sheriffs Office this past summer, I have left my schedule open for the Lord to show me how he wants to use me. I am at the stage of my life where I am trying to give back to the community and serve people (especially kids) even more than I have in the past. The Board of Education is a way of serving both and I am hopeful I can get elected and use the experience that I have in the schools to bring another perspective to the Board.
I believe Davie County is one of the best places you can live and raise a family in North Carolina. The education system is a big part of that and I want to continue to keep moving forward with preparing our kids in Davie for either a four year college, Community College or having them prepared to enter straight into the work force out of high school.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the school system, and how do you intend to address those challenges?
Jones: 1) One of the school system’s biggest challenges is retaining our teachers and not losing them to surrounding counties. We lose a lot of teachers every year because they move to other school systems for better pay. I have watched every summer as our administrators struggle to get all the positions filled before the start of the new school year, replacing teachers who decided to leave for more money in another district.
I would want to sit down with current board members and the superintendent to try to find a way of being more competitive with other counties by increasing local supplements. This would help prevent our teachers from leaving Davie and moving to surrounding counties to teach.
I would also still try to speak with our Congress woman, Virginia Foxx, to continue to try and get more money at the State level. This would not close the gap on the surrounding counties, (that would have to be done on the local level) but it would continue to get our NC teachers the base pay increase they deserve.
1) With school shootings still happening in our country, school safety and making sure all of our kids and staff are safe in the county is a priority to me. Our superintendent and Sheriff Hartman have a strong relationship and the safety of the staff and students are important to both. As I stated above, I am recently retired from the Davie County Sheriffs Office and as the Lieutenant over all the SRO’S in the county, was responsible for keeping our schools safe. I sat in on monthly meetings with the Superintendent and Sheriff Hartman about school safety and the importance of the schools and Sheriffs office working together. I would want to continue to make safety of our students and staff priority number one. I would want to continue to work with the Sheriffs office and try to make sure we keep our training up to date with the schools and implement any new training that comes available.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will change the way a lot of jobs are done in the future as well as make a lot of jobs disappear. AI is changing things faster than we can keep up in the workforce. I feel we need to get ahead of it to make sure we are training kids for the right kind of jobs and to ensure those jobs will be there. I also want to make sure that we are able to teach kids about new jobs that are created by AI in the work place. Jobs that require AI or machine learning skills are expected to expand by 71% in the next 5 years. I would like to talk to our CTE teachers to get their thoughts on what they see happening in the next 5 years and how we can work together to keep up with technology.
Should the school system increase incentives to recruit and retain teachers?
Jones: Yes! The school system should increase incentives to recruit and retain teachers. In my opinion, this is one of the biggest challenges facing the school system.
Davie County Schools are some of the best in the state of North Carolina. The reason why is because of the teachers and staff. As parents, our kids are the most important things in our lives. They are the reason we get up in the morning and do everything we do. How do we make sure they get the quality education that they deserve? We must provide and retain the best and most qualified teachers.
North Carolina ranks 34th in average teacher pay across the United States and 46th at beginning teacher pay. There was a wage increase passed last budget which will go into effect in 2024 and 2025 and will help move NC teachers up in that ranking, but not much.
Another important fact to look at with the wage increase for 2024 and 2025 is the range of percentages. The pay range increase was from 3.6% to 10.81%. The wage increase for teachers with over fifteen years experience is on the low side (a 3.6% increase) When teachers retire, the state takes the last four years of their income to calculate what they receive after retirement. With this current layout, our experienced teachers have a lot of incentive to leave and go to another county at the end of their career to maximize their retirement.
We are losing teachers to other professions because of the overall teacher pay. At the state level, we can continue to try to raise the teacher pay and keep our teachers from moving to another profession. But I feel like the bigger problem for Davie is keeping our teachers from leaving our school system for another surrounding county for more pay.
Jones: I moved to Davie County 25 years ago to raise my kids in a rural setting after growing up in Winston-Salem. It was the best move I ever made in my life.
These are some things I do now working with youth in the county:
• I have helped Rob Raisbeck coach the Davie High cross country team for 8 years.
• I have been my wife’s (Susan Jones) assistant coach for the William Ellis Middle School girls basketball team the last three years. My wife is a 20-year veteran teacher for the county who currently teaches PE at Ellis.
• I also am a Young Life leader where I get to work with high school kids. I get to spend time with them in a fun setting but also get to talk about Jesus and how important it is to have Him in our lives.
Experience in business that would be helpful:
I have three small businesses in the county (Advance Country Store (20yrs), Advance Storage Units (2yrs) and Triple P Real Estate Investments) (23yrs) and have an understanding of numbers that could be helpful in budget planning.
My platform is the 3 things I listed in the problems we need to address.
1) Retain teachers by increase supplements;
2)Safety of students and staff; and
3) Keeping up with Technology.
My background being in the schools:
• I recently retired from the Sheriffs Office as Lieutenant over the SRO’S and all the schools.
• I was stationed at Davie high school for 14 years but did work with different administrators in all the schools on some level.
• My responsibility was making sure the schools were safe and all personnel understood lock down procedures.
• Making sure we had a good lockdown plan created in case of any violence or emergency happening at the high school.
• I would work with my other SRO stationed at the school, office staff and administrators to make sure we were all on the same page. Everyone worked very well together as a team to make sure we would be prepared.
• I also reviewed and modified evacuation policies if needed of the schools.
The best part of my job was building relationships with all the kids at the school but especially the ones that got in trouble. I would try to mentor them and help them through the process if they were charged.
I worked with all the staff at the high school at different levels:
• Administrators closely every day dealing with students and parents,
• Athletic director for security for all the games
• Guidance counselors for students in crisis that needed to make a report or mental health issues
• Social workers for families in need or drive them to do welfare checks on students at their home
• Office staff (We would go over lockdown procedures and I would assist with upset parents)
• Custodians for different reasons depending on the day
• Bus drivers for incidents that happened on the buses that required LEO assistance.
• Cafeteria workers for problems that would require our assistance.
• Teachers (Some teachers would ask me to speak to their classes).
Getting to know everyone throughout the school system helped me understand a lot of different things from many perspectives and not just my own.
One class that I did for Health & PE teachers for 12 years was a drug class for all incoming freshman. Though this Health class, I was able to teach for an entire class period on the drugs found in the county and the drugs the kids may see while in the high school. Here I would share scenarios and the students would ask questions. These classes were a great way to make me approachable and also inform the kids of the dangers of the drugs that are out there.
It also started a lot of positive conversations with the kids and led to a number of great relationships with some of the students over the years.
My hope is the experience I have had working in the schools will help me be a positive addition to the existing board.
If you vote for me, the one thing I can promise is I will always do what I think is best for our kids here in Davie County.