Hanging Up the Chalk
Long-time Educator Ivy Jones Retires
Baton Rouge, La. » A yard sign with a “larger than life” headshot said it all: “Congratulations, Ivy Jones, on Your Retirement.” The sign, strategically mounted in front of Harrison (Sonny) and Nelwin Johnson’s home, was the neighbors’ tribute to Jones who, for the last 20 years, passed through their neighborhood en route to her teaching job at the Martin Luther King Christian Academy (MLK). Jones’ various positions had included that of vice-principal, disciplinarian, and social studies and science teacher. Recently, several of Jones’ neighbors reported to a Berean worship service and, with the Johnsons acting as representatives, presented Jones with a plaque from the neighborhood and a proclamation from Baton Rouge’s mayor. Nelwin Johnson recounted how Jones would wave as she and her students walked through the neighborhood sharing veggies from the school’s garden and making sure the children spoke. “In the process, you taught us how to live and forgive, and we’re here today to celebrate your new journey,” Johnson said. The following are Jones’ responses to questions posed to her following her last MLK graduation as a faculty member.
“I am retiring from teaching because I feel confident that God is ready to take me to another phase of my life’s journey. There is much left for me to do. I want to continue my service to God. He is not through with me yet.” She stated that her teaching tenure positively impacted her family and how sharing her numerous teacher-student encounters would often spark much laughter and conversation. “I’m sure I could write a ‘best-seller,’” said Jones, who was convinced that she was able to maintain a well-balanced life while working. She adds that teaching was not her first choice for a career, but when the opportunity to teach in a Christian atmosphere presented itself, she couldn’t resist. “I mean, how often does one get to teach academics and also teach about the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ? My 20 years afforded me just that.” Jones’ future plans include continuing her love for gardening, traveling, and seeking opportunities to help others while pursuing academic courses of interest. Jones closed by revealing that the thing she will miss most about teaching is her daily interactions with her students: “watching them grow, learn, and mature. Their lives have blessed and impacted me as much, if not more, than I have impacted theirs.”