Superintendent Dr. Jones makes room for new leadership

With the new semester beginning, Dr. Russ Jones has decided to step down from his position as superintendent, which he announced on Sept. 8 at a special Board of Education meeting.

Jones grew up in Kent, Ohio and attended Kent Roosevelt schools. He was immediately drawn to his US History and Public Speaking classes. History was his favorite because people are able to understand the present by studying the past, he says.

After graduating from Kent Roosevelt high school, Jones attended Kent State University for four years. He graduated with a degree in Educational Administration.

“My father instilled in me the importance of school at a very early age,” Jones said. “I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and have always appreciated the importance of education in our society.”

Jones began his educational career by teaching social studies and summer classes at Kent Roosevelt. He then moved into the position of Assistant Principal at Tallmadge High School and later became principal at Tallmadge. Soon after, he became principal at Aurora High School. He then finished with nine years as superintendent of Stow’s public district.

“When I was a teacher, our principal at Kent Roosevelt, Marty Kane, inspired me,” Jones said. “He had a tremendous influence [with] leading the teachers of the building, and I saw the positive impact it had for the students.”

Jones lists John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Theodore Roosevelt as his inspirations.

“I’m inspired [by] people who dream, people who believe, people who make it happen,” Jones said.

Outside of work, Jones enjoys cooking, working out, playing with his dogs and sports.

Jones is married with two children. They spend time together by watching TV, eating, traveling and chasing their rescue dogs, Senor and Jackson, around.

Jones enjoys watching MLB, NFL and NCAA sports. He follows the Indians, Browns, Buckeyes and of course, the Bulldogs.

Basketball and baseball used to be part of Jones’ activities, but he does not play them as much as he used to. He also spent much of his time playing mens fast pitch softball.

Perseverance, communication, consistency and a sense of humor are included in Jones’ list of leadership qualities he believes a person has to have in order to run a district.

“A clear understanding that the interest of the students comes first [is important],” Jones said.

The new superintendent, Thomas Bratten, will begin his contract on Feb. 1, 2015, after Jones’ retirement on Jan. 31, 2015.

“I am fully confident Mr. Bratten will be an outstanding leader for our school district,” Jones said. “I’ve had the honor and pleasure to work with him the last few weeks during the transition phase, and he is a fine man, great educator and is interested in what’s best for kids.”

After retirement, Jones plans to spend his time “watching the Price is Right and sleeping.”

Jones does not currently have any long term plans, such as moving houses or vacation, but he says he will still be involved with education.

Jones said, “I will likely stay in the field of education, which is where my heart is.”

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