By LaKeshia N. Myers
Ms. Annie K. Jones was an interesting lady. She never spoke loudly, ate a lot of popcorn (which I learned is a school administrator’s go-to for lunch), and she always encouraged me to do my best. She was one of my high school assistant principals and she passed away last week.
Upon learning of her death, memories of her rushed into my mind. I remember the many visits to her office where she told me about her upbringing in Tennessee. How she tried to persuade me to pledge Delta (that didn’t work); and the kind words she always poured into me. She truly believed in all of her students. She remembered our names, she knew our interests, she steered us into and away from friend groups. She was a great connector of people.
In some ways I have modeled myself after her in the way I approach my role as a school administrator–listening first and trying to understand a student’s perspective. It was not always easy, but Ms. Jones always made us feel as though we had a voice.
She genuinely loved young people. She would always say, “my students keep me young or at least up-to-date”. It was because of her open communication with young people that so many students from Rufus King High School went to HBCUs in Tennessee, especially Lane College. Ms. Jones believed strongly in education as the great equalizer and she shared opportunities and information wherever and whenever she could.
I will remember one sage piece of advice from Ms. Jones. She told me, “you only own one thing in this world–your name. We should only hope that our names are spoken highly of and in ways that influence the world. Be sure to protect your name”. I have remembered this advice and try to honor it all the time.
Ms. Jones was rare and wise. She will most definitely be missed and I can only hope I can impact a child’s life as she did mine.