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Friday, September 18, 2009

UNCP adds distinguished professor in School Leadership program

Dr. Jerry Jones, a veteran educator from West Virginia, will join the faculty of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke this fall as the first Joseph B. Oxendine Distinguished Professor of Education.

Jerry JonesThe endowed chair in the School of Education was created in late 2007 by a gift from the C.D. Spangler Foundation and named for UNCP Chancellor Emeritus Oxendine.

Dr. Jones, who comes from Marshall University, will teach in the graduate School Leadership program.

With more than 20 years in higher education, Dr. Jones began his career as an elementary school teacher, and he worked as a guidance counselor, principal and superintendent of two school districts.

“We are excited about this new addition to our faculty,” said Dr. Leah Fiorentino, dean of the School of Education. “Our search committee was incredibly impressed with his credentials.

“Dr. Jones has already contacted superintendents in our region and will work with them to target their needs,” Dean Fiorentino said. “He will be a major benefit to area schools and our entire region.

“He brings an understanding of rural education to this position,” she said.

Dr. Jones has published seven textbooks on a wide range of topics from “Insuring That No Child is Left Behind” and “101 Tips for School Leadership” to “A Handbook for the Teaching of Science and Math” and “Curriculum for Teachers of Early Childhood Education.”

He described his current scholarly interests.

“I have an interest in creativity in school management and the renewal of organizations,” Dr. Jones said. “I am also interested in working with students who are struggling to lower dropout rates.”

Dr. Joseph Oxendine, who was a member of the search committee, said UNCP has added an outstanding scholar who has distinguished himself in public and higher education.

“Dr. Jones has all the qualities that one would expect of a distinguished professor,” Dr. Oxendine said. “I am very pleased with the selection. He will be outstanding.

“The faculty will gain from his experience, and students will learn a lot from someone with his background in education,” he continued. “He is a prolific writer who has published outstanding materials in recent years.”

Dr. David Oxendine, director of the School Administration program, welcomed Dr. Jones to the department.

“It is a great honor to have such an experienced individual as Dr. Jones in this position,” Dr. Oxendine said. “His wealth of experience can only enhance the Department of Professional Leadership in the School of Education. 

“I am sure he will provide our graduate students with excellent guidance that helps them to be better educators and administrators in our public schools,” he said.  

A St. Albans, W.Va., native, Dr. Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education at West Virginia State College and a Master of Arts in education from the West Virginia College of Graduate Studies (now Marshall University) and a doctorate in educational supervision from Virginia Tech.

Dr. Jones has spent most of his professional career in West Virginia, but he said two experiences outside his home state were influential.

“My experience teaching in Guatemala gave me an understanding of diverse cultures,” he said. “And, I got to see the world while in the Navy.”

He described the region and the Oxendine Distinguished professorship as a “good fit.”

“I am a rural educator, and this is a place I believe I can make a difference,” Dr. Jones said. “I have a pretty good understanding of rural school systems.”

In his last post, Dr. Jones was a tenured professor in the doctoral educational leadership program at Marshall. Before that he served as a professor and department chair at the University of Charleston, associate professor at West Virginia State University and as a member of the faculty at Trevecca College and the University of Rio Grande and Community College, where he was also an associate academic dean.

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