Jones Named Outstanding Educator of the Year


Jones is a 23-year teaching veteran who is Radford’s OC16 Outstanding Educator of the year. “I consider myself very fortunate to be recognized as an important part of the strong team of hardworking and dedicated educators who make Radford a great high school,” he said. (Photos by April Mamaclay)

April Mamaclay, Reporter

English teacher Andrew Jones is Radford’s Oceanic Time Warner Cable (OC16) Outstanding Educator of the year.

    Jones is a 23-year veteran of education who spent the first part of his career teaching English in Taiwan before joining Radford, where he’s been for the past nine years. He currently teaches junior English and Advanced Placement Literature.

    Jones has a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Pennsylvania State University , a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Secondary Education from University of Hawaii, and a Master of Science in Education from Walden University. Currently, he is working on his National Board Certification in English Language Arts.

    Principal James Sunday nominated Jones for the Outstanding Educator award, which is an annual award given to a teacher at a public high school.

    “Mr. Jones is a very passionate educator that has implemented innovative instructional strategies throughout the year. Mr. Jones demonstrates a teacher with the attributes of a growth mind-set as he continuously reflects on his practice and professional growth,” Principal Sunday said. “We are proud to have Andy Jones represent Radford High School for this prestigious award by OC 16.”

    The Outstanding Educator program is in its 28th year and is created by Oceanic Time Warner Cable. Jones was filmed while teaching, and will have a promotional video aired on television. He will also be recognized at a luncheon.

    Jones said that he really doesn’t know why he was chosen for this award, but  feels deeply honored to receive it.

    “There are many excellent teachers at Radford, and I consider myself very fortunate to be recognized as an important part of the strong team of hardworking and dedicated educators who make Radford a great high school,” he said.

    Jones said that he’s been experimenting this year with different teaching strategies involving group discussions, such as Socratic Seminar and Philosophical Chairs. It’s also advantageous for him to have a dedicated class set of Chromebooks for his students to use, so he’s also trying different uses of digital technology.

    Even when Jones is not teaching, his dedication to improving the profession is clearly seen in activities outside of school. He is active in the teachers’ union providing written and oral testimonies at the capitol, he is a regular contributor to the Editorial section in the Star-Advertiser, and he is oftentimes found in his classroom during the weekends grading assignments and planning lessons.

    In his free time, Jones is a poet and writes under the pen name Gilchrist Haas.

    “I’ve only had a couple of poems published and haven’t actively sought a publisher for the past decade. I will probably make an attempt to publish traditionally (e.g. print book) once I finish my eighth book, hopefully by the end of this year. It is called ‘The Emerald Gong’,” he said. “People interested in my poetry can check out my poetry website at, and my Gilchrist Haas Youtube channel.”

    Jones has set an important goal for himself as a teacher.

    He said that he wants to encourage his students to “view school as an opportunity to explore and define who they are as human beings and what they want to do with their futures. I also want them to understand that there doesn’t have to be a strict difference between work and play – that spending all day immersed in studying something of interest can lead to the greatest pleasure. In other words, I want my students to develop a love for learning that will contribute to life-long happiness.”