CEO Outlook Magazine

Dr. Constance Jones | CEO | GOAL Academy

Dr. Constance Jones


" I have always wanted to serve others and make a difference, particularly in the lives of students. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction and joy to see my staff and students succeed and become leaders themselves. "

Achieving Positive Culture & Student Achievement

Dr. Constance Jones, Ph.D., joined GOAL Academy in 2018, bringing her over 35 years of public education experience. As a veteran educator and administrator, Dr. Jones now leads Colorado’s largest high school and alternative education campus as the CEO. During her tenure as the Superintendent of the Pueblo City School District 60, Dr. Jones implemented improvement strategies that prevented state intervention for the district and at many of the district’s low-performing schools. She also spearheaded several programs like GOAL’s curriculum’s critical components, including expanding career and technical education courses and workforce readiness certifications.

Before her role at GOAL Academy, Dr. Jones served in the Lee County Public Schools in Florida for 30 years. Her contributions as a classroom teacher, principal, and Chief Academic Officer (CAO) were remarkable. Under her leadership as the CAO, the district achieved an “A” rating in the state’s accountability system. It was recognized as one of the highest-performing districts in the nation for reducing the achievement gap between low and high-socioeconomic students and among minority and non-minority students.

Dr. Jones earned her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Education Leadership from the University of South Florida. She has been actively involved in community organizations, committees, and boards at the state and national levels. Her dedication to education and student success continues to shape GOAL Academy’s unique 21st-century learning environment. Notably, under Dr. Jones’ leadership, GOAL Academy has received two Cultural Excellence awards from the Top Workplaces USA organization, further highlighting her commitment to positive culture and student achievement.

Becoming A Great Leader

Dr. Jones’ tenure at GOAL High School exemplifies the profound impact of transformational servant leadership in educational settings. Her approach, characterized by a deep commitment to understanding and addressing the unique challenges of a multi-district online charter school, has fostered an inclusive environment where faculty and staff feel empowered to contribute. This leadership style steered the school through a critical transitional phase and set a clear and shared vision for its future, demonstrating how effective leadership can transform school culture and drive progress.

“I have always wanted to serve others and make a difference, particularly in the lives of students. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction and joy to see my staff and students succeed and become leaders themselves,” says Dr. Jones. “I have always felt that it was important to empower staff and help them grow into future leaders. Leadership, in my mind, doesn’t always mean that you have to be the position of CEO or the top-level position in the organization.” Dr. Jones states that leadership comes from a willingness to step up to the plate and accept responsibility and accountability, whether for a task or the good of the entire organization. “As a leader, it is important to model your expectations as well as clearly communicate them. Treat your staff with dignity and respect and have the courage to deal with difficult situations,” she adds. “Is it different from your male counterparts? I don’t really think of it being gender specific. I think it is more related to having the passion, commitment, and growth-mindset to ensure the success of your staff and the organization.”

Dr. Jones has been very blessed to have many people come into her life who have inspired her to be a better person and a leader, but the one who truly stands out is her father. He was a farmer and drove a school bus for the rural community for 56 years. He was a true leader in the community. The families he served adored him because he was fair, consistent, and caring. He was his students’ first teacher when they stepped on his bus every morning, and he provided their last lessons as they reached home each evening. “He taught me the critical importance of honesty and to never compromise my integrity or my values. He set very high expectations for me and there was never a doubt in my mind if I was falling short, but he also couldn’t have been more supportive and prouder when I accomplished a task well,” explains Dr. Jones. “He instilled the confidence in me to believe that I could be and do anything that I set my mind to and chose to pursue. And I have tried to pass those values on to my students and staff throughout the years. Our students and staff need their leaders to instill those work ethics and values more than ever today. We need to take time to treat each person individually and build a trusting relationship, which will motivate them to give their best and remain loyal to the organization.”

Guiding the Next Generation

GOAL’s online learning delivery model, student-centered support services, and 6,000-plus statewide student population provide a once-in-a-career opportunity to lead a genuinely unique 21st-century school. Having spent most of her career in what is referred to as “brick and mortar” schools, coming to GOAL High School has been such a fantastic opportunity to put into place so many strategies that Dr. Jones has always believed would make a difference with high school students with her supportive board of directors, who represent many professions. “They believe in our mission, and they encourage us to be innovative and forward-thinking. They do not try to micromanage, but rather they are open and willing to help us in any way we need,” elucidates Dr. Jones. “This has allowed us to try various staffing models, to provide students with the support to address their needs beyond just academics and create a flexible learning environment that values both our staff and our students. The greatest opportunity has been the ability to change course swiftly when something is not working well and to try new strategies without the fear of failure.”Setting a 100% graduation rate goal for the students each year, she set the precedent with her team that all students can succeed. “We serve many students who have not experienced success in their former schools, and it is our job to turn that around and help them be successful,” says Dr. Jones proudly.

While leading the 18,000-student district, Dr. Jones implemented improvement strategies that prevented state intervention for the district and at many of the district’s low-performing schools. The school district was on the State accountability clock, so time was of the essence, but Dr. Jones first had to learn where the greatest needs were and what strategies they could use to make the most significant gains in the shortest time. Rather than bring in outside consultants and conduct extensive studies, she worked to gain insights and feedback from staff and realized they needed to start with the basics of looking at the reading and math programs in the K-8 grades and the core subjects at the high school level.

Dr. Jones and her team updated the instructional resources and provided extensive professional development for the teachers and staff. They also reviewed board policies, graduation requirements, and anything that might have been hindering students from being able to graduate on time. Within two years, the strategies began impacting student performance and academic achievement, and the district was removed from the state’s accountability watch list.

One of the most significant achievements of her leadershiphas been establishing a robust student mentorship program at GOAL High School. This staffing model involves student mentors and integrates the invaluable expertise of counselors, social workers, and teachers, providing a supportive learning environment that extends beyond academic success. These professionals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience, providing students with a multifaceted support system that addresses academic, emotional, and social needs. Their involvement ensures that the mentorship extends into a holistic approach, where every student can find guidance tailored to their circumstances, fostering a nurturing environment that promotes personal growth and academic success.

Today’s students need the support of a caring adult who has the time to build a meaningful relationship with them, learning the unique challenges that may hinder their success in school and beyond. It’s a testament to the power of mentorship in creating a collaborative and empowering educational experience. The program’s adaptability to virtual and in-person formats has ensured consistent student support, making it a cornerstone of the school’s community outreach and student development efforts.

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