Jones finalist for state Principal of the Year

Anna Jones named finalist for state Principal of the Year
Posted on 09/25/2019
Arlington Elementary School Principal Anna Jones doesn’t like the spotlight. She’ll shy away from recognition when possible and is quick to share the attention with others.

“I just like to be in the background,” she said. “I love for other people to get recognition. I honestly feel like I’m on just one piece to an entire puzzle.”

But it could be that very trait – that Jones is a behind the scenes kind of leader – that has her being celebrated all across the state of Tennessee. On Wednesday, Jones was named the Shelby County/Municipals Principal of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education. She’s now one of only nine principals statewide to be in the running for the Tennessee Principal of the Year.

Even during the interview for this article, her ability to wane off the spotlight was impressive; she immediately gave credit to her coworkers and her staff – what she calls her “AES Family.”

“I think this award is a true reflection of my school more than anything,” Jones said. “The people that I have the honor of working with are great. I’m surrounded by leaders, from the school level up to the district. They’ve made my job easy.”

The 22-year educator and University of Memphis graduate got her start as a teacher at Altruria Elementary School in Bartlett. She also taught second grade at Arlington Elementary before moving into the assistant principal’s position in 2009, a role she held until being named principal in 2015.

As principal, Jones says she’s prioritized one golden rule: treating people like she would want to be treated. “I just try to get along with all people and put myself in a position to help to the best of my ability,” Jones explained. “No job is beneath me. I’ll help clean the floors, hold the hand of a sick kid, help at bus duty…it doesn’t matter, it’s my job to support my family.” Thoughtful words, spoken from a behind the scenes leader who has earned the spotlight.

The Principal of the Year Award is given annually to a school leader for outstanding service in education and exceptional leadership that drives overall improvements in his or her school. All regional and overall winners will be celebrated this November during the TDOE’s annual LEAD Conference.