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Monica Warren-Jones Talks Schools, Equity, and the Uniqueness of Ward 6

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monica Warren-Jones Talks Schools, Equity, and the Uniqueness of Ward 6

State Board of Education Spotlight

It’s 4:30PM and for Monica Warren-Jones, Ward 6 State Board of Education Member, late afternoon and evening meetings are no rarity. These days, her full-time career as an affordable housing professional is supplemented with meetings, community events, and time spent assisting constituents. “At least once every other week there is some type of function I go to.  As a Board Member, you are the education ambassador to your community and it’s important to be out there, to listen to what people are saying, and to respond.”

Growing up in Long Island, New York, Board Member Warren-Jones learned the value of education at a young age. “My dad was an immigrant from Central America, and though he barely graduated from junior high school, you could not underscore education enough in our household.” The lesson clearly stuck and Warren-Jones went on to obtain a BA from Howard University, a MBA from Boston College, and a MPA from Harvard University. Her passion for education continued throughout her academic and professional career and is now manifest in her work as a Board Member. In addition to Board meetings, she attends community events, disseminates education information through social media and her monthly Ward 6 Newsletter, and of course, helps constituents navigate DC’s education system. “I try to make sure that I’m guiding people to the right support they need within the system.”  

For Member Warren-Jones, two goals remain in the forefront of her work: closing the achievement gap and advocating for equitable, educational access across all neighborhoods. “Five years from now I would like to know that we are doing everything possible to make sure that we have a quality seat for every child that chooses to use a public school in the District of Columbia, whether it’s DCPS or a charter school.” Warren-Jones agrees that thoughtful engagement with the public and community based partnerships will be critical in making it happen.

In Ward 6, organizations like the Capitol Hill Public School Parent Organization (CHPSPO) and the Capitol Hill Community Foundation are integral in improving public education. “The Capitol Hill Community Foundation is responsible for ensuring we have great libraries in all our schools and CHPSO was instrumental in organizing our middle school plan. They made sure all of the voices across Ward 6 were heard in the discussion.”    

When reflecting on her ward Warren-Jones smiles. “I think what makes Ward 6 unique is that we represent the city in many key ways in terms of characteristics and demographics and we have some really committed folks en masse who have done yeoman’s work to enhance the educational offerings in the ward for all kids.” Despite winning her board seat in a landslide victory in 2010, Warren-Jones does not trumpet her experience as an elected official. “At the end of the day, I am just trying to be a good public servant for my fellow residents and be the best parent I can possibly be.”

Board Member Warren-Jones currently resides on Capitol Hill with her husband and two daughters.

Like her on Facebook at: Monica Warren-Jones, DC State Board of Education
Follow her on Twitter:  @mwj470
Read her online Newsletter at: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs089/1107417106316/archive/1108262147389.html