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AES Principal Anna Jones announces retirement

AES Principal Anna Jones announces retirement
Posted on 11/20/2020
Teaching wasn’t Anna Jones’ first career. Her path to becoming the leader of Arlington Elementary School involved kids but in a different type of way: being a mother.

“I actually quit my junior year of college, got married and had three kids. It always felt like I had my three kids and someone else’s three kids running around my house,” she laughed. “I had so much fun with my own kids and all of their friends I just thought I needed to go into education.”

She landed her first teaching gig at Altruria Elementary School, eventually making her way over in 2008 to Arlington Elementary. There, she quickly rose in the ranks from a classroom teacher to assistant principal in 2009 and principal in 2015. Twelve years have now passed since she first stepped inside AES as an employee, and on Friday, December 18th, she’ll leave the school proud of knowing what she’s accomplished.

On Friday, Jones told her staff she’ll be retiring at the end of the semester. She actually planned on stepping away from the role at the end of last school year, but in COVID-19 fashion, plans changed. “It just didn’t seem right to leave them with all of the uncertainty,” she said. “This is my family, and I couldn’t abandon them.”

But now, nearly four months into the school year, she’s comforted in knowing that AES is equipped and ready for the second semester. Her confidence in the school moving forward without her is rooted in what led her here in the first place: the family-like community.

“This community is so supportive,” she said. “We have an amazing group of PTA volunteers. The teachers,” she paused, “almost feel like daughters to me. They work harder than most will ever know.”

It’s that type of servant-minded attitude that still gives Anna sparks and inspiration today. “It was instilled in me early on that you must give back to others. I feel like it’s my duty and like it’s my responsibility. I see that same drive in many of the teachers here. We have great leaders in this building, and they’re going to go on and do so many great things.”

Of course, the dreams of retirement for Anna will be filled with back-porch swinging, gazing across her pool, going to the beach whenever she wants and leisurely reading her John Grisham novels (almost all of which are autographed by the author himself), but her dedication to service and making education better for teachers will continue. She hopes to become more familiar with the drive to the state’s capitol in Nashville to help advocate for teachers and those working in education. She even plans to set aside her John Grisham novels every now and then to make sure future education legislation is written with teachers in mind.

AES will also still be in her life. She currently has a granddaughter at the school with another one who will attend in two years, and signing up to become an AES PTA volunteer is one of the last things she’ll do before leaving next month.

“I may be leaving the role of principal, but I’m not leaving the school.”

“Anna’s impact on Arlington Elementary and this district will live on long past her retirement,” Superintendent Jeff Mayo said. “I’ve heard it over and over again from employees how AES is like a family. That type of culture must start at the top, and Anna’s leadership has allowed that to flourish.”

Interviews for AES’ next principal will begin the first week of December to ensure there is a smooth transition into the 2nd semester for staff, students and families.

“Anna’s leadership has been invaluable this year as we reopened schools during the pandemic,” Mayo said. “She has certainly created a structured blueprint at AES for the next principal.”