Faculty Spotlight – Meet Ann Black Jones

Ann Black JonesWe’d like to introduce you to Ann Black Jones, an instructor at Carrington College California Online. Ann lives in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where she’s a full time faculty member at a local community college. Ann currently teaches a couple of online classes for Carrington students – Math 151 (College Algebra) and Management 201 (Human Relations in Business). She has also taught Math 101 (Principles of Mathematics) in the past.

Ann has been a teacher since 1992; she started her career teaching pre-employment classes part-time for potential employees hoping to work at a local BMW plant.

“I had a friend who taught the South Carolina State Board for Technical & Comprehensive Education program; the program was designed to help entice companies/employers to South Carolina. She introduced me to her manager who later hired me to teach math, basic computer skills, and interpersonal skills over intensive 2 week periods.

After testing, we would make our recommendations to the company of which applicants they should select for interview. It was like a state-run pre-screening process designed to offer companies like BMW a good employee pool to pick from, making their recruitment process easier after relocating to the state. I really enjoyed it.”

Because that was a part-time role, it allowed Ann the time to continue her own education. She graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in Mathematics Education, and became certified to teach in the public school system. Ann taught Grades 6 through 12 from 1994 through 2001, but she also continued teaching the State-Tech Board program part-time until 1998.

“In 2001 I was given the chance to teach as an adjunct [part-time] at the community college, and I re-discovered my love for teaching adults. Then an opportunity became available for me to interview for a full-time faculty position, and I’m still there today.”

Ann classifies herself as a non-traditional student. Having always gone to school as an older adult with younger people in her classes, she feels that she is well positioned to empathize with her students.

“I graduated high school and was supposed to go off to a traditional college, but instead I went into the Air Force. Then of course I got married sooner than I planned and had my eldest daughter. But as a non-traditional student I’ve earned an undergraduate degree, a master’s degree in Human Resources Development, and I have 18 graduate hours in Higher Education Leadership. I could transfer those hours to a doctorate in Higher Education Administration if I choose to go that route.

I’ve done all of that with a family, by doing the things and making the sacrifices that my students have to do now. So when I speak with them about their difficulties, I can speak from personal experience of what you have to do to be successful.”

Ann was the only woman to graduate from her Air Force Basic Training flight with honors; she served for 2 years from 1980 to 1982. While in the military she took her first college classes at a community college in Washington state; she continued her education ‘off and on’ when she got out. She initially majored in Business, but switched to Math Education when she realized she was enjoying the math classes.

“I initially had a phobia of math, but I took some basic classes to give myself a good foundation, and started having some success. I switched my major because I realized that there was a need for math teachers in the public school system; I thought it would be a good career choice. But I was taking these classes while working, so I had to fit it in around my work and my growing family.”

From 1986 to 1990, before she started to really focus on her degree, Ann worked as a Sheriff’s Deputy which is how she met her current husband Curtis, an investigator for the Public Defender’s Office. Ann has 4 children and 1 grandchild, Dinah. Her children, 2 boys and 2 girls, range in age from 31 to 16; her older children are from her first marriage.

“When I worked in law enforcement, the Narcotics squad needed a fresh face so they brought me in on one occasion to work undercover on an illegal gambling round-up. I had a tendency to look younger, so they sent me in to purchase illegal gambling tickets. Once the money exchanged hands I would place everyone under arrest and the Narcotics officers would come in and handle the rest. Working in Law Enforcement was pretty exciting – I don’t think many people would guess I used to do that for a living. My students don’t believe that I was a police officer!”

Ann’s most rewarding moments as a teacher tend to come with students who are going through the same difficulties that she did early in her own education, those struggling with and then conquering their phobia of math.

“I had a Carrington student, a young lady, who said that she had never been very good at math, but she was excited because she was experiencing success. I spent time with her on the phone talking through problems, I would send video clips, and hand-write certain examples and upload them for her. She took the time to send me a nice email to say thanks for helping, and how much she appreciated me. She earned the grade, she put in the work, but she was grateful the extra help I provided.”

To give you a little more insight into the lady behind the teacher, we asked Ann what book, movie and music she would want with her if she was to be stuck on a desert island, and who she would choose as a companion?

Desert Island Movie – “It’s a comedy called Brown Sugar – it’s about a relationship that developed out of a love of Hip Hop! I don’t know why, but I can watch that movie over and over again!”

Desert Island Book - “I’d take the Bible – it’s got romance, murder, science fiction if you will, it’s got all kinds of stuff! ”

Desert Island Music - “I like jazz, R&B, music like Kenny G! And gospel of course, but the gospel I like is the newer kind like Mary Mary.”

Desert Island Companion – “I’d have to say my eldest daughter Rebekah. We’re good friends, we like the same things – reading, history, travel! And we’d talk about all kinds of stuff! We’d have so much fun!”

Thanks for your time Ann. We thank you for all that you do for our students and we’re delighted to have you as a valued member of our Carrington College California Online faculty.

 

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