The End of An Era

This year there is an event taking place that hasn't been seen in 15 years. A change in principalship at Pine Grove Elementary school. Mickie Jones, formerly Mickie Fisher, will be retiring from the Lowndes County School System with 30 years. To say this is unusual is quite an understatement. Nationwide the average tenure of a principal is only 5 years. Not only has she been an administrator for almost 25 years, Mrs. Jones has been the principal at the same school for 15 years. When asked the secret to her longevity and unusual success, she very modestly gives all the credit to her phenomenal staff and is reluctant to take any credit for herself.
A life-long resident of Hahira, Ga. and graduate of Lowndes High School, Mickie began her Educational career in Brooks County after graduating from Valdosta State University in 1989 with a Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education. She later earned a Master's Degree and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from the same university. After 11 years in Brooks County, serving as a teacher and administrator, she was hired as an assistant principal at Moulton Branch Elementary school. She served there for 3 years before getting the nod for Pine Grove Elementary School principal in 2003. "It was a proud/ anxious moment for me. My parents had always taught me the value of hard work (even had me working in the tobacco fields) but I knew one day my hard work would pay dividends." She started at what became known as the old PGE; then moved into the new $15 million facility in 2010.
While contemplating the new school, almost prophetically, Mrs. Jones predicted that the brand new inside of the building was a reflection of the atmosphere she wanted to create. Almost 8 years later, she has done exactly that! The school has received numerous accolades, both local and from the state. This is a remarkable accomplishment considering the school has 30% mobility rate and is the most culturally diverse school in the district.
When asked about the most substantial changes she has seen during her 30 years, Mrs. Jones without hesitation mentions accountability and liability.
It is obvious Mrs. Jones is very compassionate about her job and school and uses the word love often when referring to her faculty and staff. "It's been a great career and I'm very grateful," says Jones. Mrs. Jones is married to Dr. Derald Jones, who works in the system and is also retiring. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren to keep them busy during retirement. Their daughter, Anna Fisher, will continue to represent the Lowndes County School System as a junior at Lowndes High School while also attending Georgia Military College.

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