Type to search

News People

90 in 90: Joseph Jones, New Castle County Vo-Tech School District

Avatar photo

Be a lifelong learner.

You’re either growing or you’re regressing. So, read! Read everything you can get your hands on, whether it’s personal development books, leadership books, magazines, or romance novels. All of them have something to teach you. No matter your age, education level, title, or stage of life, I urge you to keep reading and pursuing new knowledge and skills.


Education is a people business.

Occasionally, the politics, policies, and procedures of education can hinder the process of teaching and learning. Education is about people: students, staff, families, and the community. In the learning process, human connection is vital. The reality is, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. My job is to prepare students to thrive in our community by cultivating a people-centric approach that resonates with our community’s values.

A freshwater fish can’t live in a saltwater tank.

Education is not a one size fits all proposition. Neither is life. We must accept and acknowledge that environment is everything. We must meet the diverse needs of our students in order to ensure that they have every opportunity to learn, grow and succeed. In business and in life, we have to embrace that. Just as a fish must be in the right environment to thrive, employees excel when they are in the right roles and conditions.

More information is not better communication.

Poor communication is a universal complaint in many organizations. However, more information does not equal better communication. Rather, clarity, relevance, and precision are key. In
industries where complex information is often communicated, it’s crucial to recognize that overwhelming stakeholders with an excess of data can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. Effective communication is about delivering the right amount of information at the right time.

Don’t worry about who’s right, but rather getting it right.

High functioning teams fully embrace the vision, mission, and core values. They embrace productive conflict, encouraging open and respectful discourse to hear diverse perspectives. It’s healthy and sometimes necessary to disagree and be challenged to consider other possibilities. Always remember that you need people in your world who can tell you things you may not want to hear.

If you want to go far, go together.

As a former endurance junkie, I’ve enjoyed many long early runs and beautiful sunset bike rides. But I’ve never completed a race or event alone. In any endurance event you need a team. I’ve found that 50% was preparation, another 50% was ability, but the real gain was the 50% support from others. Yes, I know that equals 150%, but that’s the point. We need each other to reach our 100% and beyond. No one is so capable that they can’t benefit from the wisdom, experience, and advice of others.

Build a culture of curiosity and imagination.

Encourage risk-taking in your organization. Allow employees to explore their curiosity, think outside the traditional norms, and be imaginative. You may have seen the bumper sticker “Complacency is devastating.” I agree. Build a culture of trust and motivation by empowering employees, and fight complacency and indifference that breed a lack of pride and ownership.

Who are you when no one is looking?

This is the true measure of character. It’s easy to do the right thing when you are in the public eye, but it’s much more important to just do the right thing. A person of integrity, honesty, and high moral values will almost always be trusted and respected. Those around you must have confidence that you consistently choose to do what’s right, regardless of who is or is not looking.

If you want to be memorable, be kind.

Let’s face it, most of us won’t ever achieve celebrity status or have hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. But we can be a celebrity among those we love, the people we work
with, and the people who enter our lives. Kindness is one of the greatest expressions of care and love.

Never lead by your title.

As a superintendent, family man, and weekend warrior, I hold a lot of titles. However, effective leadership transcends titles; it’s about character stepping up when titles fall short. True leaders are defined not by the words on their business card, but by their actions and the positive impact they make. Be known as a leader who picks up that piece of trash, helps unload pallets from a delivery truck, and answers the phone if no one else is. Actions speak louder than titles.

Joseph Jones is the superintendent of New Castle County Vo-Tech School District. 

Get the free DBT email newsletter  

Follow the people, companies and issues that matter most to business in Delaware.


You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Premier Digital Partners

© 2024 Delaware Business Times

Flash Sale! Subscribe to Delaware Business Times and save 50%.

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.

Limited time offer. New subscribers only.


Subscribe to Delaware Business Times and save 50%