Results will drive perception of school system, new Bibb superintendent says

Attitudes about the Bibb County school system will begin to change when people start to see wholesale improvements, the district’s new superintendent said Monday.

Curtis L. Jones’ first day on the job included a tour of Southwest High School and meetings with members of the school board.

Jones, the former Griffin-Spalding school system superintendent, said he was excited to be in Macon.

As a former Army lieutenant colonel and former junior ROTC instructor, Jones was interested in seeing Southwest’s junior ROTC program.

“It’s an important day for me and the school system,” he said. “I’m excited to be visiting Southwest High School, ... but I’m also here to see the ROTC to see what character and education is about.”

Jones planned to meet with all board members at some point Monday to “find out who they are” as well as to hear their priorities and major concerns.

“Today was the first step in full and real communication with the board members,” he said.

Jones said the public perception of the school system is important, but that no one could change perceptions overnight.

“The perceptions will change when we start producing results that people can believe in,” he said.

During his oath of office last week, Jones said his two first two priorities were getting the school system’s new budget in order and finishing the AdvancED governance handbook that board members have been working on.

Additionally, Jones submitted a 150-day entry plan to board members, which outlines how he will assess the strengths and weaknesses of each school.

Part of that plan includes giving Jones the opportunity to visit every school to meet with students and teachers. The goal is to have a progress report before schools start back in August.

“At the end, I will give an update to the board,” he said. “But I’m pretty sure they’re going to ask me for an update at the next board meeting as well.”

In a previous interview, Jones told the Telegraph that changing the culture was the “ultimate element” of a successful school system. By coming together and developing a set of core values for the school district, he said, those values will begin to drive what’s done.

“We can do a lot of things with processes to improve, but if people don’t see results coming about because of increased student achievement, they’re not going to believe we’re really doing a whole lot,” he said.