If you spot a sporty Suzuki 1300 zipping down Hillcrest, there’s a good chance you’ve just seen new Hillcrest principal Ronald Jones. He occasionally rode his bike to Franklin Middle School, where he was principal. But this year, you’ll find him down the street as the new leader of the Hillcrest Panthers — and he has some big plans for the high school.

You’re joining Hillcrest from Franklin Middle School just down the block. What’s it like to move up in the same neighborhood feeder pattern?
It’s an awesome blessing because I already know many of my students and their parents.

For the parents who haven’t met you yet, what would you like them to know about you?
My focus is on high student achievement — and anything that gets in the way of that, I have zero tolerance for. I am here to serve the students of Hillcrest and see that these kids get the
best education available.

And what would you like your new students to know about you?
I want them to know that they need to be a part of planning their own future. Whether they want to pursue a college degree or prepare to enter the workforce, I want them to have an active role in planning for that. I want them to decide not just what they’re going to do with their lives, but also where and how they’re going to do it.

Are you bringing any changes to Hillcrest?
There are some definite changes in the works. For example, we’re going to be cutting back on some modern distractions in school, like iPods and texting in class. I don’t want to have anything that takes away from learning. I’m also starting the P.A.W.S. program, which stands for Panthers Achieving Winning Status. From now on, all students will have a class period every day where they are mentored and tutored. This will be a time where teachers and students build one-on-one relationships — this teacher will be an adult on campus who these kids are accountable to.

When you’re not working, what are you doing?
Probably listening to music. That’s a big stress reliever for me.

What kind of music do you like?
I always say you can’t miss me with music because I like everything. I love everything from your hardest rock to your most soulful gospel.

If we were to look on your nightstand, what book would we find there?
A copy of “The Question Behind The Question” by John G. Miller; I’m doing a refresher-read of that book because it’s full of great information about how to eliminate blame, complaining and procrastination from the workplace. I actually gave a copy to everyone on staff at Hillcrest so we could all read it over the summer.

Tell me something people would be surprised to learn about you.
I ride a motorcycle — but only sometimes. Riding a Suzuki 1300 isn’t always a good idea when you’re wearing a business suit. I also deejay on the side a little bit. It’s nothing professional, just something I do for fun at gatherings or celebrations.

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