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Jones, Towers start at Hartselle Central Office

Andrea Williamson

Hartselle Enquirer

Hartselle City Schools welcomed two new administrators last week as part of its restructuring process in the central office.

Following the retirement of Assistant Superintendent Dr. Nancy Horton, one other full-time employee and two part-time employees, Dr. Dee Dee Jones and Tina Towers joined the HCS administrative staff. Although parts of their job descriptions will replace those accomplished by the retired staff members, Jones and Towers are also serving new jobs. Jones, who is now the Director of Teaching and Learning, will be the first staff member hired in HCS to focus on curriculum. In addition, Jones and Towers are part of the newly-formed Office of Teaching and Learning within the central office.

Jones’ job will include coordinating curriculum, determining instructional strategies, reporting budgets and other information to the Alabama State Department of Education, securing funding through grants and other tasks.

A native of Fort Payne, Jones has resided in Decatur for 26 years. She holds a doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Alabama in Birmingham and the University of Alabama.

Towers is the new Coordinator of Professional Development and Curriculum. Her job will include, among other tasks, implementing the New Teacher Academy, providing professional development opportunities for HCS teachers and overseeing teacher development through STI PD.

Although they have different titles and job descriptions, Towers stated that she and Jones fully intend to work together.

“I don’t think we will emphasize the individual job descriptions,” Towers said. “We will constantly work together to accomplish these things. I had always heard great things about Dee Dee. We are both hard workers, and I think we are going to be great partners.”

Jones, who has worked in education for 27 years as a teacher, principal, reading coach and, most recently, supervisor of career tech at Decatur City Schools, echoed Towers’ thoughts, saying that they complement each other in many ways.

“Although I worked as an elementary principal for six years at Somerville Road Elementary, I spent most of my time with middle school and high school students,” Jones said. “Tina, however, has a strong background in elementary schools. In addition, she has worked in Hartselle for several years, so she already has many well-established relationships with the HCS faculty.”

As well as preparing them to work together, Jones and Towers both said that their career backgrounds have given them skills that they will use in their current jobs. Towers said that her 22 years as an elementary school teacher, as well as her additional years serving as a reading and instructional coach, has taught her the importance of relationships.

“You have to know your teachers,” Towers said. “You have to know how you can all work together to create professional development.”

In addition to communication and relationship skills, Jones also said her career background has prepared her to be a leader.

“I have been able to see different leadership styles,” Jones said. “I have been able to take positive aspects from different people with whom I have worked.”

As they prepare to work together, Jones and Towers have a full agenda for the year. Once every four years the State Department of Education performs state monitoring, and this will be occurring in January 2016. For their first project, however, Towers and Jones will be meeting to plan the new Teacher Effectiveness program. Also in the near future, they are planning and recreating the New Teacher Academy, which will be held Aug. 4.

At the center of their plans, is the goal to serve the HCS teachers and students. Jones said they want to benefit the students and to constantly be in the schools getting to know the teachers and their needs.

“We want to be resourceful,” Jones said. “We are not in an ivory tower, and we want to be helpful.”

Towers agreed with Jones’ desire to be accessible to the faculty.

“My goal is for our teachers and administrators to feel comfortable walking in our door to tell us what they need,” Towers said. “ The bottom line, though, is our kids and what is good for them.”

In addition to sharing similar goals, Jones and Towers also share an enthusiasm for their new jobs and the upcoming year.

“I have always wanted to be where I can make a difference,” Jones said. “As an administrator, I watched children fall through the cracks, and I want to be able to help administrators. I also like the challenge of something new. For me, it goes back to where I can make a difference and where I can learn.”

Towers agreed that the challenge of doing something new, and possibly creating a model for other school systems, is exciting.

“I think it will be a fun, challenging and rewarding job,” she said.