With middle school assistant principal Ms. Katie Shefren moving on to work as a middle school principal at an international school in Ghana, ASL is bringing in a new administrator, Ms. Erica Jones, to become the MS assistant principal in the 2018-19 school year.
Ms. Jones will use her past experiences in civil rights groups and her interest in identity to bring a new perspective into the middle school curriculum.
Ms. Jones has always been interested in teaching internationally and has been looking for a job abroad. She was intrigued by ASL’s mission statement and how focused it is on an American curriculum in a global context.
Ms. Jones is excited to be part of a leadership team that is involved in curriculum. She hopes to continue to integrate the idea of identity into the curriculum. While visiting ASL over summer, Ms. Jones was impressed by the work the English department is doing regarding mirrors and windows, particularly in seventh grade.
Ms. Jones is also looking forward to stepping out of her comfort zone by taking this new job. Her last middle school job was an academic coach at Bret Harte Middle School in Oakland, California. However, she has worked at high schools in her past three positions and is excited to be moving back to the middle school division.
Ms. Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Dartmouth College. Her first position was a middle school academic coach, before she went on to teach high school history in California and NYC. She then graduated from Columbia University with a Masters in Private School Leadership and two years ago, came to her current position as the Assistant Head of Upper School and Dean of Students at Friends Seminary in NYC.
This is also her first international teaching position, although she has lead international trips to Puerto Rico and Johannesburg, South Africa. Ms. Jones said, “For me, this next position is a really exciting opportunity and I really had to put myself out there to try something new.”
She is looking forward to being part of a diverse community and appreciates the number of nationalities represented by the student body. Ms. Jones was also impressed with the commitment and engagement of the faculty at ASL.
Ms. Jones has a couple connections to ASL. High school social studies teacher Mr. Michael McGowan was her former coach. Ms. Jennifer Abastillas, a current first grade teacher, was in a learning group with Ms. Jones over the summer at the Interschool Leadership Institute in New York. She also currently works with Ms. Katherine Precht, who previously worked in Development at ASL.
While Ms. Jones is generally feeling excited and ready to join the ASL community, she is also feeling bittersweet about leaving New York. After living in New York for nine years, she has created a large network around the city. However, she said, “I am also looking forward to building that network in London and creating space for cultivating new relationships.”
Ms. Jones hopes that teaching remains a pivotal part of her career, as it is something she loves to do. She also hopes to continue to be brave and courageous enough to take risks in her career while also following her heart and her passion. Ms. Jones said, “I never want to, in my career, feel like I have to continue doing something just because it’s what’s comfortable.”