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White House honors Erin Jones for education leadership
Erin Jones, Director of Equity and Achievement for Federal Way Public Schools, was honored by the White House as one of 10 education leaders who have devoted their professional careers to helping further education achievement among African American students.
Honored late last month as a Champion of Change, the recognition was part of President Obama's White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, a program launched in summer 2012.
"The Champions of Change award was an opportunity to celebrate the work I have done with a community of educators, my family, teachers, administrators and community organizations across this state over the past 16 years," Jones said in an email to The Mirror. "I was recognized as an individual, but I did not do this work alone. I would also add that my work affects more than just African American students. My passion is to ensure equity for all students who are disconnected or disenfranchised for whatever reason."
FWPS Superintendent Rob Neu said Jones is a valuable asset to the district.
"We are so privileged and proud to have Erin. She brings an energy, focus and passion that benefits students, staff parents and the community," he said. "Her experience and knowledge are invaluable as we realize our commitment to a global education for every child so that they can make the most of their potential throughout their lives."
Jones was a keynote speaker at last month's One Day Federal Way rally. This year's project focused on reducing violence and bullying in schools. Jones shared her personal experience with racism, and reiterated to students that words can injure, but also heal.
"We each have the power to change a life with our words," Jones told the students. "Choose to speak words that bring life to people, not death."
About the award
Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor of President Obama, said the award was a chance to recognize the work of educators like Jones.
"President Obama has made providing a complete and competitive education for all Americans - from cradle to career - a top priority," Jarrett said in a press release.
"That's why last summer he signed an executive order to establish the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. This week (of Feb. 26), we look forward to welcoming Champions of Change who have been working to ensure that all African American students receive an education that fully prepares them for high school graduation, college completion, and productive careers."