Carl Jones retires after 42 years in education


GREENVILLE — Carl Jones has played a number of roles over the course of his career in the public education system, from high school math teacher, to professional development consultant, to Director of Curriculum at Darke County’s Educational Service Center in Greenville. Jones recently retired after 42 years in the industry.

“Working at the Educational Service Center has been a dream job for me,” said Jones. “It’s allowed me to do what I love to do most, in a situation that worked very well for me.”

Jones said that working at the ESC never failed to present him with new challenges.

“The most interesting thing about my job was that there was no average day,” Jones said. “We used to kid each other that you could come in and have nothing on your schedule, yet be busy all day.”

Jones started out teaching high school math in Iowa, then came back to Darke County – where he grew up – to teach at Ansonia for 11 years. After leaving Ansonia, Jones began working at the ESC, where he’s spent the last 20 years.

Jones believes the ESC’s role in local education is still not fully appreciated.

“A lot of people don’t understand how the ESC supports education in the local communities,” Jones said. “It’s one of those things that works in the background, but I think we do a good job of collaborating within the schools in Darke County.”

Jones’ primary area of expertise was as a specialist in mathematics education, dealing with how different topics in math are taught, the kinds of exercises that benefit students, and the overall experience kids are being offered in the math classroom. Jones felt there has long been a harmful perception among many that, while topics like reading can be taught, math is the kind of subject that only certain people can be “good at.”

“There’s no ‘math gene’ that gives you special abilities,” Jones said. “I have the belief, and research supports this, that anyone can learn to do math at a fairly high level, with the proper instruction. Just as we can teach anybody to read, we can also teach anybody to do math.”

According to Jones, this perception that math requires special talent may stem from math scores historically being used as a gateway to high school and even college, as a way of filtering out what were thought of as low achievers.

Jones also felt that, just as every student has the potential to excel in math, every school has its strengths, as well as its weaknesses.

“No school is failing,” Jones said. “There’s more variation within schools than there is between schools. This school might be better in this area, while that school is better in another.”

Similarly, there may be more to judging the success of students, as well as their teachers, than what can be measured by looking at scores on standardized tests.

“When you’re working with a student,” Jones said, “you may not be able to get them to the proper achievement level, but if you make progress, that’s still good.”

During his last two years at the Educational Service Center, Jones worked as Professional Development Coordinator for a consortium of seven counties in the Greater Dayton area, including Darke and Montgomery County. While he’s currently still doing some consulting work, Jones said he’s also looking forward to other pursuits.

“My wife and I would like to enjoy the grandchildren, and traveling,” Jones said. “My wife also worked in education for many years. So now that we’re both retired, it gives us the ability to do some things that we haven’t been able to do before.”

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By Tony Baker

abaker@dailyadvocate.com

The writer may be reached at 937-569-4315. To join the conversation and get updates on Facebook, search Advocate360. For more features online, go to dailyadvocate.com