Following a 39-year career at Attica High School, Attica, Roy Jones is retiring after serving as principal for the past 30 years.
Students and faculty put on a weeklong celebration during the last week of school this Spring demonstrating their strong feelings for Jones. From heart shaped paper badges day, Green Bay Packer day and Bob Dylan day Jones was given a surprise each day. The final celebration came on Friday with an all school "pep session" where Jones was surprised by a sentimental and fun look back at his career at Attica. Through skits, PowerPoint presentations and past employees presenting their fond working relationships and experiences with Jones. The city mayor, Butch Swift presented the "key to the city" as a token of his contributions to the town and community. The final surprise and honor bestowed on Jones was that the 1000 seat auditorium will be formally named the "Roy M. Jones Auditorium."
Jones first taught Industrial Arts for 8 years, starting in 1969 and served as assistant principal in 1977, following a fire that destroyed the old Attica High School, He was named principal in 1978. During his tenure he has signed 1,957 diplomas and enjoys the fact that he had a personal connection with each graduate. Something you cannot have in a larger school district.
As a leader, Jones has stuck to a few simple principles and avoided micromanaging. "My philosophy has always been to hired good people and let them do what they need to do to be successful in the classroom. If teachers wanted to look at a new program for example, I let them do that. I let them have flexibility and freedom as they are the experts in the classroom, I's not."
Among co-workers, Jones is known for his calm demeanor and friendly nature. "He treats people with honesty and respect", says Monica Swift, school secretary for 10 years. "He treats everybody equally, no matter their position. It's good policy."
Jones says one of his priorities as principal has been to improve the academic programs and offer students a variety of offering and opportunities. He has led the school's -transition into the technology age. "We were the first school in Indiana to have a complete computer lab. "I've always tried to push new opportunities", he says. "Additionally, adding Advanced Placement courses in the late 70's gave the students an advantage in college", he added.
He believes the kids' involvement in after-school athletic programs are key to their success. Being a standout cross country and track runner under Allan Barcus at Brazil, he knows how time management and perseverance pays off. He is especially proud of Attica's victory in the 2001 Indiana State Basketball Championship and the football teams' second place finish the season before.
After retiring, Jones plans to spend more time with his family and his woodworking hobby. He also will volunteer to help in the "Jones Auditorium" with sets for the school productions and with Habit For Humanity'.
He is married to Phyllis (Justice, formally of Brazil), and has a son, Travis, 32, and daughter, Kelsey, 23, daughter-in-law, Mandy, granddaughter, Aubrey and grandson, Caden.