Rockville Administrator Named Finalist for National Award

Rockville Administrator Named Finalist for National Award

Robert Frost Middle School principal one of three considered for honor

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Joey Jones

Photo via MCPS

A Rockville principal who is one of three finalists for National Principal of the Year credits the honor to his students and staff who “make outstanding contributions to the community every day.”

Joey Jones, principal at Robert Frost Middle School for 17 years, said Tuesday that the award nomination is a culmination of the work everyone else at the school does under his leadership.

The National Association of Secondary Principals announced on Tuesday that Jones is a finalist for National Principal of the Year. The award honors principals who “have succeeded in providing high-quality learning opportunities for students as well as demonstrating exemplary contributions to the profession,” according to the organization.

Jones said he has not been considered for the award before.

Much of his focus at the helm of Robert Frost has been on creating an environment in which students feel valued and appreciated and the staff is continuously striving to improve, Jones said.

“Every day, I try to positively impact the life of a child. That’s my daily goal,” Jones said. “I really enjoy coming to work and trying to make a difference in the life of a student or a staff member, and that’s been the core of my time here.”

At Robert Frost, Jones has trained and mentored 14 teachers who have gone on to become associate superintendents, principals or assistant principals, according to the National Association of Secondary Principals.

In a recent school climate survey, more than 90% of students said they feel safe and their teachers have high expectations for them to do well, and about 93% of the staff said they would recommend the school as a good place to work.

Robert Frost Middle School has about 1,050 students in sixth through eighth grade and approximately 60 classroom teachers. About 80% of the student population identify as either white or Asian, according to school system data.

A Reidsville, North Carolina, native, Jones moved to Montgomery County decades ago to pursue a doctorate degree from the University of Maryland. He got a job with Montgomery County Public Schools shortly after.

He previously worked at Sligo Middle School, Thomas Edison High School of Technology and Rockville High School and has been employed with MCPS for 25 years.

“MCPS is extremely proud of Dr. Jones. His ability to engage and inspire students and educators is why he is so deserving of this recognition,” school system spokesman Derek Turner said in a statement.

Other candidates for the award are a high school principal from Massachusetts and a high school principal from Georgia.

The winner will be announced in October. All finalists will attend a conference this year in Washington, D.C.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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