HOUSTON – May 2, 2020 – Justin Jones, who served as principal of Link Elementary, died on Friday, May 1, in an automobile accident. He was 34.
Jones joined Spring ISD in July 2017, when he was named principal of Link. He previously worked in the Houston Independent School District as an assistant principal and instruction coordinator.
He started his career in education in Victoria ISD as a Middle School Special Education Inclusion Teacher and Boys Athletics Coach. Jones received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas – San Antonio and his Master of Education in Administration and Supervision from the University of Houston – Victoria.
At Link, Jones dedicated himself to seeing every student achieve by motivating his teachers and staff. Under his leadership, the school saw its 2018-19 accountability rating climb to a B — with a score of 88 out of 100 — following the previous year’s score of 64 (D).
“There’s no ‘us’ and ‘them’ here, there’s just us,” Jones said last October in explaining the achievement at Link. “We are a team and we work through all these things together. You can’t empower people you don’t work alongside.”
During a special meeting with Spring ISD staff on Saturday, Superintendent Dr. Rodney E. Watson shared the news of Jones’ death and encouraged the sharing of memories and reminiscences as he is mourned.
“We are deeply saddened by Justin’s passing,” Watson said. “He was a caring leader, devoted friend, loving husband and father, and we are all devastated by this loss.”
Co-workers recalled Jones commitment to excellence and his willingness to always go the extra mile for his students and team members. “Justin was truly a remarkable leader,” said Natasha Watson, assistant superintendent for elementary schools – Zone 2. “He truly loved his job and his teachers and his Link family.”
Link Assistant Principal Tangy Stith said she and Jones often got into spirited conversations but they were partners no matter what. “I could not have asked for a better friend or work confidante,” Stith said. “He will truly, truly be missed. He was just a fantastic person.”
Jones was known for making himself available to other principals who needed advice or wanted to talk through an issue. “He was a great principal but also a great teammate,” said Marshall Elementary Principal Mike Walker. “We’ll definitely miss him.”
Among memories shared about Jones on Saturday was something he liked to tell staff at the start of a workday: “Make it a great day or not. The choice is yours.”
That optimism and sense of hope served as an inspiration for others. “We lost a lot more than a leader, we lost a friend,” said Passion Davis, Link’s ELL/LEP Coordinator serving English Language Learners. “It’s going to be challenging.”
A public viewing will be held from 11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Friday, May 8, 2020 at Thiele-Cooper Funeral Home in Yoakum.
Private funeral services will be held at Thiele-Cooper Funeral Home with burial at Adams Branch Cemetery near Hallettsville. The funeral service can be viewed on Facebook live at 2 p.m. on Saturday on “Latrael Cooper’s Facebook page”.
The online guest book may be signed at http://www.thielecooper.com.