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CATAWBA TRAIL ELEMENTARY ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL IN 2022 CLASS OF OUTSTANDING ADMINISTRATORS

7/19/2022

The National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) has announced Dr. Tia Jones as a 2022 National Outstanding Assistant Principal. Dr. Jones is an assistant principal at Catawba Trail Elementary School in Richland School District Two. Annually, NAESP recognizes a cohort of assistant principals from across the country. This year, 19 assistant principals received the recognition for demonstrating exceptional leadership and setting high standards for their schools and community. 

Dr. Jones received the award while attending the NAESP Pre-K-8 Principals Conference in Louisville, Kentucky this month. Reflecting on her educational journey, Dr. Jones says her love for education allows her to lean in and lead others.

“In this life, we may all face some type of adversity, at some time or another. I am reminded of not only my ‘why’, but the ‘why nots’ of the world. Why not be the change agent for the next generation. I am humbled and honored for this recognition and the opportunity to continue to grow the profession that I love so dear,” said Dr. Jones.

Twenty-four years ago, she began her educational career working as an instructional assistant at Forest Lake Elementary School. She has taught Rice Creek Elementary and Sandlapper Elementary schools and spent the last nine years as an assistant principal at Catawba Trail.

Jennifer Gillespie, principal of Catawba Trail Elementary School, says it comes as no surprise that Dr. Jones is being recognized by NAESP as a 2022 National Outstanding Assistant Principal. “Her commitment and passion for education is apparent in all she does each day at Catawba Trail. Dr. Jones is a servant leader and prides herself in developing positive relationships with students, their families, faculty, and staff. Dr. Jones is extremely creative and I am proud to have her on our team,” Gillespie said.

Dr. Jones holds a Bachelor of Science degree in early childhood education from S.C. State University in Orangeburg, Master of Education degree in divergent learning from Columbia College, an Educational Specialist degree in educational administration from Cambridge College in Cambridge, MA, and Doctor of Education in organizational leadership from Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC. She is also national board certified. 

She and her husband Woodrow have five children, all graduates of Richland District Two, one of whom is an elementary school teacher in the district. They recently lost one daughter, 1st Lieutenant Justice R. Stewart who was struck and killed by an impaired driver last year while jogging near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.