Lois Harrison-Jones, professor emerita in the School of Education at Howard University in Washington, D.C., has been honored by the Richmond, Virginia School Board with the renaming of an elementary school in her honor. What was the John B. Cary Elementary School has become the Lois Harrison-Jones Elementary School.
Cary, whose family owned a plantation prior to the Civil War, served as a colonel in the Confederate Army. He later served as the superintendent of the Richmond public school system.
A West Moreland, Virginia native, Dr. Harrison-Jones spent 34 years teaching and training teachers in the Richmond school district. She then went on to hold major positions in school districts around the country. She was the first female superintendent in Richmond Public Schools and the first Black female superintendent in both Virginia and Massachusetts.
In the early 2000s, Dr. Harrison-Jones came to Howard University to help develop the doctor of educational leadership and policy studies program at the School of Education. This program prepares a network of leaders to take on positions as superintendents, particularly in districts that serve large, diverse populations.
“I felt that once I was no longer on active duty I owed it to others who were aspiring to learn from someone who had been there,” said Dr. Harrison-Jones. “You need to keep yourself grounded and rooted in what you want to do, and I felt that mentoring was the best thing for me.”
Dr. Harrison Jones is a graduate of Virginia State University. She earned a doctorate in educational administration from Virginia Tech.