SMITHFIELD – Director of Enrollment and Information Systems, Brian A. Jones was selected as Johnston County Public Schools (JCPS) 2023 Administrative Auxiliary Services Employee of the Year.
Receiving multiple nominations from his colleagues, Jones’ positive attitude was a recurring theme throughout. One nominator wrote, “Brian has a bright and infectious attitude. His presence is felt in the room, and he has a ‘can do’ attitude.”
“I’ve always had that determination,” Jones said. “I’ve always wanted so much more.” He credits his family for developing that characteristic. His dad was in the military and modeled discipline, commitment, and being direct. However, Jones credits his mom Angela with creating the person he is today. “You report to her,” he remarked. He always knew where he stood with her.
Another major influence came into his life at an early age. As a kindergartener at South Smithfield Elementary, his teacher Sandra Edwards made an enormous impact on young Jones. Edwards, a JCPS Living Legend, helped him to tap into just being himself. Even to this day, when they see one another she’ll say, “Just be.” That lesson has guided him to where he is today, and Jones is unapologetically himself.
Jones’ philosophy is that it is easier to be a happy person than a bitter person. “It’s my natural personality,” he said. His mother has always said that even as a small child, he smiled about everything, which is why he was voted “Best Smile” as a senior in high school. However, Jones didn’t keep that award. His friend had just gotten their braces off, so he gave that friend the award.
He is a lifelong resident of Johnston County, and a graduate of Smithfield-Selma High, where he was involved in many activities, such as band, chorus, and winter guard. Although he may seem outgoing, he is a self-proclaimed introvert and isn’t interested in the spotlight. Jones’ joy comes from making others look good. “I like seeing people happy, ” he said.
That servant leadership inspires his team to be the best they can be. “I work for them,” he commented. “If they don’t have a job, I don’t have a job.” As director of enrollment, Jones is all about customer service, because he and his team are often the first people that families interact with. There has to be a positive and welcoming atmosphere, therefore the team’s motto is: First voice, first face, first interaction.
A JCPS team member for 15 years, Jones began his career one summer washing school buses as a part-time employee. “Somebody had to do that kind of work.” That positive attitude got attention, and he was asked if he would like to drive a bus. Always up for a challenge, Jones took the bus driving class and became the youngest bus driver for JCPS at that time.
From there he worked his way up, taking advantage of the opportunities to grow. “They reward you for committing to the work,” he remarked. Jones has made an impact in many ways, and has filled roles as a teacher assistant, behavior intervention specialist, data manager, and head secretary, before moving into his current role.
As director of enrollment and information systems, he wears many hats. His favorite aspect of work is interacting with the families that come into the enrollment center. The conversations consist of lots of things, but there is a subject he loves discussing more than any. Jones always welcomes the chance to talk about his home. “I love everything about Johnston County,” he exclaimed!
When he isn’t working, Jones loves to cook, sing, take walks, and be with his family. These things keep him centered, as well as his faith. Jones is selfless when it comes to his work and his life. He recently underwent weight loss surgery, so he could donate a kidney to his brother. “Everything I do is for somebody else,” he said.
Jones is grateful to those who voted for him as employee of the year, and he shares the award with his team. “This is really for my people,” he said. “A win for me is a win for everyone.”