Jones Finds Dream Job As Weddington High Principal

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At A Glance

Dr. Jay Jones

School: Weddington High School

Position: Principal

Notable: Jones was a teacher, coach and assistant principal in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District after graduating from college. … He was an assistant principal and principal in the Union County School District before becoming principal at Weddington High…. Jones earned his undergraduate degree at Marietta College (Ohio) where he played football for four years. … He has a Master’s Degree and Doctorate Degree for Gardner-Webb University.

Family: Wife, Amanda; Children, Ian (13) and Olivia (10), who both attends UCPS schools.

Dr. Jay Jones has found his dream job.

After successful stops as an assistant principal and principal at the elementary and middle school level in Charlotte, Waxhaw and Marvin Ridge, Jones was named the new principal at Weddington High School earlier this year and he recently assumed his new duties at the school.

Jones comes from Marvin Ridge Middle School where he served as the school’s principal for four years. Prior to Marvin Ridge Middle School, Jones was the principal at Marvin Ridge Elementary School for four years and an assistant principal at Waxhaw Elementary School for two years.

“I was thrilled, honored and humbled when the superintendent asked me to assume this position at Weddington High,” Jones said. “This is a remarkable school that has a strong tradition of excellence. From the time the doors have opened at this school, it has been characterized by excellence.

“I have enjoyed every job every step of the way but coming to a school like this, yes, it is a dream job in many ways.”

Jones earned his undergraduate degree from Marietta College (Ohio) in 1999 and he earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees from Gardner-Webb University. Jones played football for four seasons at Marietta and he said the life lessons he learned on the gridiron still help him today.

“I would need a few hours to talk about all those things that I learned playing football,” Jones said. “But the main things were the importance of teamwork, the importance of goal-setting, perseverance, grit. But most importantly being a part of something that is bigger than one’s self and finding the value in personal contributions to that.”

It was also on the football field that he decided to pursue a career in education.

“I went into college as a sports med major,” Jones said. “One of my college football coaches steered me towards education. It was during the spring of my freshman year that I decided that education is what I wanted to devote my life’s work to.”

Jones has family in the Charlotte area and visited often and that prompted him to move to North Carolina following college.

“I have spent my adult life here in the Carolinas since my graduation from Marietta,” Jones said. “I moved down here to the Charlotte area and this is where my career and my family have been established.”

Jones’ first stops as a teacher and a coach were at Covenant Academy Alternative School and Jay M. Robinson Middle School in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. Jones mainly taught Language Arts and Social Studies but he also had teaching stints in Physical Education and Sports Journalism.

While at Jay M. Robinson, Jones also served time as the school’s athletic director while also coaching football, basketball and track.

Jones’ first job in administration came at Ranson Middle School where he served as an assistant principal. Jones then made the move to Union County when he went to Waxhaw Elementary.

“I have been blessed in my career to serve very different schools, demographically and socioeconomically,” Jones said. “My first stop in Charlotte-Mecklenburg as an administrator, about 90 percent of our students received free or reduced lunch. We had to teach kids how to walk in the school properly and to greet one another. I learned a lot there and it opened my eyes to the needs of kids in different communities.

“Waxhaw and Marvin Ridge were different in that we served a much different community. Those are wonderful communities and I learned to lead and support the desires and the needs of a community that was just more involved at the school level.”

Jones said one of his first priorities in his new job is establishing trust with the students, teachers, staff and parents at Weddington High.

“I want them to understand my philosophy on leadership and that is that this position is not about me,” Jones said. “It is all about them. I can only be successful if they are successful. The primary they being the students. Our students’ success is directly tied to the success of our teachers.

“There is no reason that this high school should not be the most successful high school not only in Union County but in North Carolina. Our goal is to be a leader in our state and a leader in our country. I want this school to be a shining gem in our community.”

There will be a meet and greet with Dr. Jones on Tuesday, August 1st at 7 p.m. in the Weddington High auditorium. More information is on the school website.

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Paul Nielsen
Nielsen was a sports writer for what is now the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for nearly 32 years before moving to North Carolina in February 2016. At the Democrat-Gazette, Nielsen's primary responsibility was beat coverage for Rogers High School. Rogers is a Class 7A school located in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen, a University of Arkansas graduate, covered the Northwest Arkansas Naturals Minor League Baseball team from 2008-2015. The Naturals are the Double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Nielsen has experience covering University of Arkansas athletics, including NCAA Tournament basketball games and several football bowl games. He also covered amateur and professional golf tournaments in Northwest Arkansas.
Nielsen lives in Matthews with his wife, Susan. He can be reached at