Dr. Jennifer Jones, a Highline College professor, was appointed to the Federal Way Public Schools Board of Directors on Monday.
After the district extended the deadline for the vacant board director position three times, two candidates applied for the seat by the May 3 deadline. The board interviewed Jones and longtime health care worker Claudette Cooper on Monday, and selected Jones during a special meeting later that day. Jones took her oath of office on Tuesday.
She fills the board director seat, vacated by Claire Wilson, who resigned on Feb. 26 — one month after she was sworn into office as the 30th District state senator.
Jones holds a PhD in geography from the University of California, Berkeley. For the past 21 years she has worked as a professor of geography and global studies at Highline College.
Jones, whose daughter went through FWPS from elementary to high school, has also served as a member of the Star Lake Elementary PTA and Thomas Jefferson High School’s Raider Parent Movement.
As a full-time faculty member at Highline College, Jones said in her application she is “deeply committed” to the concept of public education.
“I love teaching and I understand the challenges that educators face, as well as the issues confronting our educational system today,” Jones said, noting that her work as a professor is informed by her belief that education is the primary key to success for the people in the community. Jones added that educational policies should rely on methods and standards that have been shown to help students succeed.
Alice Madsen, dean of instruction at Highline College, commended Jones for her dedication to students, noting that her students “speak highly of her and comment on the transformational learning experiences that she facilitates.”
Madsen added that Highline College, like FWPS is home to a rich diversity of students, and “Jones is respectful and responsive to every student and practices an inclusive mindset.”
In addition, Madsen said Jones contributes to the college in many ways, “perhaps none more significant than mentoring new faculty.”
Jones’s previous experiences include serving as a community development volunteer for the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic where she worked with local leaders in the areas of agriculture, women’s health and youth outreach. She also was a social worker and communications coordinator for the Harriett Tubman Shelter in Chicago.
In addition, Jones has been involved in her community including at the Hi-Liners Community Youth Theater, Kent Community Police Academy and as a guest lecturer at local retirement communities.