At tonight’s monthly meeting of the DC Public Charter School Board past chairman Brian Jones will receive the organization’s Outstanding Service Award. The recognition is extremely well deserved.
Mr. Jones was PCSB chair from 2010 to 2013. During his tenure the charter school authorizer doubled down on its emerging emphasis on the quality of schools following the nascent movement’s logical focus on growth. He followed the strong leadership of Tom Nida, and while Mr. Jones did not have the same commanding presence as his predecessor from the podium, he led solidly and consistently through his calm and respectful manner no matter who it was with whom he was interacting.
I had the tremendous pleasure of interviewing Mr. Jones three times. On each occasion he treated me with the same dignity that he did everyone else. He never made me feel one of my questions was not worth asking, and he taught me way too much to mention here about the eruption of public school reform then taking place in the nation’s capital.
It was a time of great transition for the PCSB. Its first board chair and long-term executive director Josephine Baker retired and Mr. Jones was responsible for bringing the highly esteemed and successful Scott Pearson to that role. The board also hired its first general counsel. The Performance Management Framework was only just being fully implemented. In addition, Mr. Jones expertly navigated Mayor Gray’s Neighborhood Preference Task Force to conclusions that maintained the autonomy of charter schools.
But it is the interpersonal skills of Mr. Jones that I remember most. No matter whether he agreed with you or not, Mr. Jones would listen and be sincerely grateful for the information. It is a trait that many of us only wish we could emulate.