Since graduating with a degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa, Beth Jones has taught at a variety of locations across the United States. But it wasn’t until the year 2001 that she accepted a position with the Southeast Polk School District, ultimately making her way back to her home state.
“Teaching at each location was very different,” Jones states. “But at all the schools I have taught at, I have been fortunate to work with amazing teachers. Even though kids come from very different backgrounds, the goals are still the same.”
As for moving back to Iowa, Jones states, “I am rooted in the Midwest. I wanted to be back closer to my family and friends.”
These roots are evident throughout her childhood. Originally from Dubuque, Jones and her family moved to West Des Moines just after her eighth grade year, where later she would graduate from Valley High School.
Now, 13 years after accepting her position with Southeast Polk, Jones teaches sixth grade language arts and social studies at Spring Creek School. Here she has won the Crystal Apple Award. She has assisted with the building leadership team, a group of teachers that work as a sounding board of ideas for the principal of their school. And, coming up this next year, Jones will also be considered a Model Teacher.
“Model Teachers are those whose classroom is open for observation, not only for other teachers but student teachers, too,” she explains.
In order for Jones to qualify as a Model Teacher, the Southeast Polk School District first had to be approved by the state of Iowa to receive a grant for the program. Once approved, the district then interviewed a variety of teachers before choosing those whose classrooms would become available for observation.
“Teaching is something that has always been a part of me,” Jones says. “I saw the joy my mom got out of teaching. As children, my younger sister and I would often play school. I was the teacher, and she was the student teacher.”
Jones loves to travel and has visited various countries across the world, including China, Spain and the Caribbean.