Teacher Highlight – Kevin Jones

Redwater Independent School District – August 2022

Kevin Jones is starting his thirtieth year in education. He chose this career path after spending time with young people as a youth worker and minister during his college years. Kevin attended high school at Maud ISD and was raised in the church. He says that when the doors were open, his family was there. After graduation from high school, Kevin went to college at East Texas Baptist College (now East Texas Baptist University), and he worked in different ministries geared toward youth. “I worked in the Clown Ministry (yep, I wore a big Red Nose), a drama group called Image, and I served as Home Missionary for the Southern Baptist Convention in Wyoming, where I later would serve as a youth minister,” Kevin says. “Even today, my family is involved in the church. I am active with my Sunday School class at First Baptist Church Moores Lane and teach on a rotation basis.” 

In 1984, Kevin graduated from college and joined the US Army. He spent eight years in the Army working in the Unit Ministry Team, ministering to soldiers and their families. “Then, I developed arthritis, and I knew it would result in complications, so I left the Army in 1992 with the desire to re-enter college and pursue a degree in education,” Kevin says. “With my military experience, I wanted to make a difference in how students viewed the government and what our wonderful nation does for its citizens.”

Through his years in education, Kevin says that the greatest rewards come from seeing a student succeed, which motivates Kevin on the most challenging days. Kevin is also motivated daily by his coworkers. “All my career, I have been surrounded by amazing professionals, fellow teachers, paraprofessionals, principals, superintendents, and students that have taught me and are still teaching me every day,” Kevin says. “I am so very grateful to my principal Ms. Cody. She is ALWAYS available, and she is positive, supportive, and encouraging in the toughest of situations. She is never demanding but is always willing to patiently listen and offer suggestions and recommendations that might work. Then she empowers me to act on those thoughts while giving me the ability to work knowing she’s ‘got my back.’”

Kevin says that many of the challenges in education stem from standardized practices which try to support students with a “cookie cutter” philosophy. “There are so many guidelines from the state about students that are identified as at risk or in need of special assistance. The students are all given the same help and same interventions, when in reality, each student is different and should be treated as individuals so we can meet their needs and help them achieve success,” Kevin says. “We, as teachers, get to know our students’ strengths and weaknesses and find a way to meet their needs instead of checking the boxes on a sheet saying that we have done all that is required.” 

Kevin also says that recent pandemic challenges have taught educators the importance of adapting to new challenges. “Our world is changing, and COVID is a vivid example of how exterior issues can become major obstacles in public school. We must be flexible and willing to adapt to this ever-changing world so we can adjust to help students become successful,” Kevin says. “ I once heard a wise man say, ‘Blessed are the flexible; they will not be bent out of shape!’” 

When building solid relationships with students and parents, Kevin relies on what he learned when he served as the assistant principal at the high school for five years. During that time, Kevin learned that almost all issues boiled down to one word: communication. “Most of the time, the issues specifically stem from a lack of communication, so when I moved back to the classroom to teach, I focused on communication,” Kevin says. “My answer, which has been facilitated by today’s technology, is to email EVERY parent, EVERY night about what was done in class and what is due the next day. It works! The best part of my day is sending out a general email to every parent every day. I get communication back from parents continuously about how they like knowing what is going on!”

When Kevin thinks back on his decades in education, he says that his favorite stories about students occur when he hears about how his students develop a passion for what they are learning. “I could be in Walmart or eating out at a local restaurant when I accidentally bump into a student’s parents, and often, the parents say, ‘Every day, my child comes home from school, and he tells us what happened in your class, every detail. Then, he repeats it at dinner, and he’s even watching the History Channel on his own. What are you doing to make him love your class?’ Inwardly I smile. I know what is happening,” Kevin says. “Any teacher who has a true passion for what they teach will pass it on to their students. These moments stand out because it shows educators what a difference we can make in students’ lives when we are sold out to what we are doing by truly teaching–not because it is a job, but because it is a passion.”

When he’s not at work, Kevin loves to spend time with his family. “I am blessed to be married to the most wonderful wife and mother that God could have ever created. My wife, Kim, is from Redwater and works for Texarkana College as their CFO,” Kevin says. “She is supportive of all I do with my students and is the most positive voice I can hear. She is the calm in the storm who brings reason to any hurdles I face. She is with me through thick and thin. I would not be where I am today without her beside me.”

Kevin and Kim have two children. They have a 25-year-old daughter named Kailee, who is a nurse. She is working on her Bachelor of Science in nursing and works for a local hospice. “Kailee is a beautiful mirror image of her beautiful mom,” Kevin says. “We also have an 18-year-old son, Kadin, who graduated from Redwater last year and is planning on attending Texas A&M Texarkana this coming fall. He is referred, by family, as ‘Buddy Junior,’ since he is the spitting image of his grandfather, Tommy Kruse. Family is everything, and I am blessed with a gift from God for having each in my life.”

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