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Jones Visits to Sign Contract As F.C’s New Superintendent

Dr. Toni Jones, the newly-selected Superintendent of the Falls Church City Public Schools, visited the City of Falls Church and its schools last weekend through Tuesday, and culminated a brief trip from her current Oklahoma home with a formal signing of her contract at Tuesday night’s School Board business meeting. In a video-taped message to the entire community posted yesterday, she stressed the importance of “e-learning.”

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DR. TONI JONES (seated) is shown signing her contract to become the new superintendent of the Falls Church Public Schools effective July 1 at Tuesday night’s F.C. School Board meeting. School Board chair Joan Wodiska is stands behind Dr. Jones. (Photo: News-Press)

Dr. Toni Jones, the newly-selected Superintendent of the Falls Church City Public Schools, visited the City of Falls Church and its schools last weekend through Tuesday, and culminated a brief trip from her current Oklahoma home with a formal signing of her contract at Tuesday night’s School Board business meeting. In a video-taped message to the entire community posted yesterday, she stressed the importance of “e-learning.”

Jones’ whirlwind tour, which took her to all four City schools on Monday and Tuesday, included a series of meetings with school and City offices, and a press availability for both reporters of the George Mason High School student on-line newspaper, The Lasso, and later for local press at the School Board offices.

Jones said the standout Falls Church system is “very similar” to the one in a northern suburb of Oklahoma City where she currently serves as chief academic officer. The common features, she said, include “a highly motivated community, outstanding student achievement and teaching staff, a community-oriented system and high expectations.”

Interviewed by student journalists at George Mason High earlier in the day, Dr. Jones said she was surprised to learn from them that they consider the strength of their school to be its “warm and welcoming atmosphere,” that students “care for each other” and consider themselves “family.”

“It is great to hear that,” she said. “I truly believe in the development of the whole student.” She said that she hopes to steep herself in getting to know the people of the Falls Church system when she arrives to begin work on June 13, two weeks prior to officially succeeding Dr. Berlin as superintendent.

In the brief formal signing ceremony at the School Board meeting Tuesday, she exclaimed, “I wish I could start tomorrow. I can’t even express how excited I am and I can’t wait to get here.”

Berlin then added, “We’ve been joined at the hip the last two days in a whirlwind tour of Falls Church. While I leave with grief and a little trepidation, I known our schools are going to be in good hands, and that is a source of comfort for me as I go on my merry way.”

Jones taped a video posted on the School Board’s web site today. On it she commended all in the Falls Church schools and community “collectively as a community for excelling as one of the premier school districts in the United States. I understand your tradition of excellence and that doesn’t happen by accident. I am invigorated to know that you have such high expectations.”

“Your focus on world class education is setting the stage for international excellence,” she added. “I am also making a personal commitment to you that we will continue, collaboratively, to prepare students for a university and work environment that is automated, digitized and global.”

She stressed “e-learning,” saying, “We live in a digital world and it’s only fair that we allow our students the opportunity to be prepared for the world that they will inherit. Every minute our young people over the age of 15 complete more than 25 million Google searches. Every month the average teenager sends more than 3,000 text messages. Our students have stepped through the doors of a revolutionary digital age.”

At the same time, she stressed the importance of addressing the needs of all students. “I am an advocate for kids,” she said. “I have spent more than two decades championing the rights for all children to feel and be successful in school.”

She said she “implemented the nationally recognized online learning center primarily for students who need education to be delivered in a different way, at a different pace,” noting also that she was “an integration teacher for autistic students” who “worked to integrate multi-handicapped students into the regular school environment,” and that she “”worked to expand dual enrollment opportunities for those students who needed to pursue high level curriculum beyond what the traditional high school could offer.”

She concluded, “I am an advocate for all children, and I will work tirelessly to meet the diverse needs of our Falls Church students. Every child deserves a great education. Education is so much more than grades and curriculum…There is no other place I would rather be than in Falls Church.”

 

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