Assisting Jones Into a New Era


Ethan Phipps '16

Mitchell getting to know the students of Jones during lunch

Late last year, Jones lost a longtime member of its administration, assistant principal Carolyn Rownd. Rownd decided to pack up her bags and take off to The Academy of the Sacred Heart when she was offered a job as principal – a sizable step up from her role here at Jones.

Rownd has a strong, unapologetic personality, and because of it, there were people split on both sides of the spectrum: those who loved her and those who could do without her presence.

“[Rownd] was someone who seemed like she had a legitimate care for us and the school. For me, she’ll be missed,” said Jesse Gomez ‘16.

An anonymous student, on the other hand, completely disagreed. They remarked that, “I never got along with Ms. Rownd. She came off as bossy and overbearing. I’m looking forward to the change in administration.”

With the acquisition of a new assistant principal, however, Principal P. Joseph Powers along with his fellow administration hope for a unanimous embrace of Rownd’s replacement, Eric Mitchell.

Mitchell is an experienced educator who has held positions such as instructional coach, assistant and head principal. After being notified of the open position, he sent in his resume and did an interview with Powers.

“It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time,” said Mitchell. “I had the credentials to back me up, and I must have been impressive in my interview.”

Getting accustomed to Jones life, Mitchell already has a high opinion of the school.

“Jones feels like a great fit for me so far. I think that once I’m settled in here I’ll really enjoy being the assistant principal,” said Mitchell.

Powers is in agreement.

“All of [Jones staff] have a really good feeling about Mr. Mitchell,” said Powers. “We all think that he’ll do a fantastic job in helping to maintain the educational and social excellence that Jones is all about.”

While Powers is excited about what Mitchell will mean to Jones, students, on the other hand are cautious.

To seniors that have seen it all and lived through the many changes in Jones, from the added building to the addition and subtraction of staff members, feelings are mixed but overall optimistic.

Mateo Gonzalez ‘16 remarked that, “It’s only been a week, so I can’t make any final judgments, but Jones seems a lot more strict this year.”

Immediate changes have included zero tolerance for the lack of an ID as well as the constant supervision by security and even administration.

“I don’t know if that has anything to do with the new assistant principal or not, but I don’t like it at all,” Gonzalez said. “Coming back, it really threw me off with how [staff] has decided to inflict so much punishment on what seems to be irrelevant things.”

Miles Littleton ‘16, on the other hand, sees Mitchell as a clear positive for Jones and its culture.

“When I first met him, I thought that it was great to see that Jones has more diversity now in terms of who’s running everything [by adding a black man to the administration]. On top of that, he seems like a genuinely nice guy.”

For the most part, that is the general consensus. Moving deeper into the school year, students will be able to truly discern how they feel about Mitchell, but for now people are confident that he has good intentions.

Mitchell himself feels that now is simply the time to get in the groove of the school year and let things play out.

“It’s only the beginning of the school year,” said Mitchell. “We all have to adjust, both the faculty and the students. I want to get to know everyone and see for myself how the school functions on a day-to-day basis. My presence needs to be felt, which is why I make sure to be in the hallways, the lunch periods, and even classrooms – I want to form relationships with the students so that I can properly help run the school. Until then, I want to take it slow.”

Jones, as of late, has been a school that has constantly changed and consistently evolved – from the addition of the new building to the acquisition of new teachers. With that comes a responsibility for the administration to stay level-headed and act with decisiveness and intelligence. Having such an important role to play in a time where the school is getting bigger, more diverse, and changing socially will stand to be a challenge. Jones would benefit from a person not only qualified for the job, but eager and willing. Mitchell believes that he is that person.