Dr. Fara Jones has been hired as the deputy superintendent at Perry County School District 32. She will assume her new duties July 1, and will replace Andy Comstock as superintendent when he retires in June 2023.
Dr. Jones brings 26 years of public education experience to Perryville, most recently serving as assistant superintendent of personnel at Poplar Bluff School District since 2019. Prior to that, Dr. Jones spent her career at Scott County R-VI, or Kelly Schools, where she first taught secondary art for 4 years, later served as elementary principal for 13 years, and led the district as superintendent from 2013-2019. She holds master and specialist degrees from William Woods University, where she also earned a doctorate in educational leadership.
She has served for nine years as secretary and treasurer of the Southeast region for the Missouri School Administrators Association (MASA), a role she credits with helping her grow tremendously as an educational leader.
“Serving with MASA has allowed me to form professional relationships across the area,” Dr. Jones said. “I schedule our meetings at a different location each month and invite a guest speaker to discuss the issue that is relevant for superintendents that month. I work with leaders from small and large schools, those in the northern area of the Southeast District and our southern area. We also work closely with our area colleges and the Regional Professional Development Center. This has allowed me to create a group of peers with shared experiences that I call upon to discuss the issues important to education and our individual schools.”
At Poplar Bluff, Dr. Jones oversees a team of 800 employees. “As I have in all of my positions, I have learned so much from my team at Poplar Bluff,” she said. “As a principal, I was blessed to learn so much from my team of teachers. It was wonderful, coming from the fine arts, to learn about curriculum; it was a great experience. I am looking very forward to joining District 32 and collaborating with the team here; the size is perfect to have great collaboration, the ability to get feedback and to make decisions that are well-informed. I am looking forward to being part of that. Mr. Comstock is an active member of MASA, and I have worked with him on our executive committee. I respect him very much, and believe this will be a smooth transition. District 32 already has plans in motion and I am eager to help those plans continue moving forward.”
Dr. Jones has reviewed the district’s Comprehensive School Improvement Plan, and said she was asked by the Board of Education to choose a CSIP Smart Goal on which to focus during her interview. “There are such great plans in the CSIP that it was difficult to choose just one to discuss. I was thrilled to see that restorative discipline was part of the CSIP,” she said. “I am passionate about restorative practices, and recently wrote a grant for training in restorative justice. The CSIP plan also includes working with a variety of advisory councils, which will be wonderful. And I’m very excited to learn that I will be part of the district’s rebranding process. The Smart Goal I chose to discuss was facilities and support services. I have broad experience in facility improvements including bond issues, lease purchasing, bid work and construction. In my current position, I am responsible for personnel so I’m very interested in the maintenance, food services and transportation support services. All schools are facing staffing challenges, not just with teachers but with these vital support services, and I’m ready to help Perryville meet those challenges.”
She said that Perryville itself appealed to her family as a potential home. She and her husband Wesley have three children — Aubrianna, Lilly and Jacob. “Lilly was fortunate to have played ball with the Perryville Stars, so we already knew families from the community,” Dr. Jones said. “It was such a good, positive experience for our family. We had such a positive impression of the Perryville community. Our youngest child, Jacob, is a sophomore in high school and we feel that there are many opportunities for him at Perryville High School and in the community. Aubrianna and Lilly attend college in St. Louis, so it will be good to be closer to them.
“I consider myself fortunate to continue my professional journey in Perryville, and I’m looking forward to becoming part of such a welcoming school and community.”