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Bibb's next superintendent looks ahead

Bibb County's next superintendent said he has plenty of learning to do himself before making any changes within the district. On Tuesday, Jones said before he makes a plan of action on improving Bibb Schools, he must assess where the district stands.

"I believe teachers and principals have a great idea of what has been successful, and what's working in one place may not be working as well in another. The cabinet has ideas, and I need to find out where they are with those," said Jones, who likes people to refer to him as Curtis.

An avid reader, Jones said he stays up-to-date on education literature and applies what he learns to the district. Right now, he's reading a book called "Decisiveness." He said it talks about how to make decisions and implementing them to create more opportunities for success.

"A second book that I've read a lot and that I've tried to implement here is the 'Five Dysfunctions of a Team.' How you take a team, define it, what the team needs to focus on, how they meet, how often they talk, how they communicate, how they put forth their vision, is important. And so dysfunctions of a team can really create issues that become long-term," said Jones.

Many critics say the Bibb school board hasn't always worked as a team. Jones is aware the board is on warning from AdvancEd. That's the accreditation body over the school board.

He commended the members for working on a board handbook. His goal is to find out how it will be implemented so the board can continue to improve, a weakness Jones admits to is sometimes being too trustful.

"I'm willing to listen and give them the benefit of the doubt. I tend to believe that people want to do the very best they can. I think parents send us the best children they have, I don't think they keep the best ones at home. I think teachers bring their A-game every day, I don't think they try to come in and harm students or create situations of controversy," he said.

Jones said that can lead to being taken advantage of, making it harder to solve problems if the truth is being hidden.

When asked how he would improve the perception of the Bibb County Schools superintendent's office after controversy surrounding former Superintendent Romain Dallemand, Jones said it's about building trust.

"If we can come together with common goals and objectives, and develop a plan that we will use to move forward, then my belief is they're going to develop trust. It is more about trust than it is perceptions, and so I'm going to work on building relationships where we're trusting with one another, where we're working together as a team. If I'm able to provide the support for principals and for staff, I think they're going to end up saying things that will then change the perception that they have of the central office, and the superintendent," said Jones.

He said some of the secrets to his success has been forming strong relationships, having an open-door policy and encouraging dialogue.

Jones introduces himself as Curtis, not only to fellow educators, but to students as well. He said that's because everyone's on the same team. He said it's important to connect with students and find out what their concerns are.

"When I go to schools, I sit, I talk with them about lunch time, about what it is, what they like, what they don't like. I have a student advisory council. We ask them, 'What do you think about the cafeteria? What do you think about our dress code? What do you think about discipline? What do you think about Positive Behavior Interventions and Support, our PBS program?,'" said Jones.

Jones created a student advisory council, that he meets with each quarter for four hours.

He hasn't signed a contract yet with Bibb schools and his start date hasn't been announced.


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