FW schools hire new equity and achievement director

Erin Jones is the new equity and achievement director for Federal Way Public Schools. - Courtesy photo
Erin Jones is the new equity and achievement director for Federal Way Public Schools.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Federal Way Public Schools will have a new equity and achievement director, beginning March 12.

Erin Jones currently holds the position of Assistant Superintendent of Student Achievement with the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). In Federal Way, Jones will replace Alma Dansby, who retired in January and had held the position since its inception in 2001.

"The true work in education is on the ground," Jones said. "I am excited to be in a district that reflects the diversity of my background and to work with a superintendent who isn't willing to settle for the status quo."

According to the district, Jones has been involved with education for 18 years. In those 18 years, she has been a volunteer, a private and public school teacher, a late night program director, and an instructional coach.

Jones joined OSPI in 2005 as the director for the Act Six Leadership and School initiative. From 2008-09, Jones oversaw the creation of Center for the Improvement of Student Learning (CISL) for OSPI. In her work with the CISL, Jones worked on creating a storehouse of best practices for teachers. She also focused on building relationships between schools, families and communities.

In recent years, the focus on the achievement gap has been laser like, both at the state level and locally. Jones was involved in trying to close the onerous gap by serving on the 2008 Education Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee, which was geared toward engaging the community as a solution to the problem.

"I've learned that the answers are always in a community, and the key to getting the answer is to bring the community together," Jones said.

Outside of her work in the district, Jones was previously a teacher in both the Tacoma and Spokane school districts. In Spokane, she was hired at a school that had the second highest poverty rate in the state. According to FWPS, Jones created a "club where girls of all ethnicities got together to talk 'girl things,' and learn how to be fluent in a professional culture." Part of that club's activities included bringing in guest speakers regularly, and also a "clothing closet" that could be used by the girls in the group for various things in their lives, such as prom or job interviews.

Her work with that club and school in Spokane earned Jones the 2008 Educator of the Year Award from the Milken Family Foundation.

"What it did for those kids, it was one of the best things that ever happened to them," Jones said, in regards to her 2008 award.

Jones has also received numerous other honors from educators group, including Educator of the Year in 2001 by the Washington State Black Trade Unionists, and a 2006 Most Innovative Foreign Language Teacher award by the the Washington Association for Language Learning.


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