Omega Frater James Jones named Pompano Beach’s Citizen of the Year
James Jones was once told that the service a person renders is the price they pay for the space they occupy on earth.
“And that’s what I’ve been trying to do here in Pompano Beach for the last 54 years,” Jones, 79, says.
It is the 79-year-old former educator’s grateful attitude that allowed city officials to readily honor him as Pompano Beach’s Citizen of the Year.
Jones said he was pleasantly surprised that he received the recognition by the city commission, after being nominated by Commissioner Woodrow Poitier, a former student of Jones’.
After graduating from Bethune-Cookman University, Jones moved to Pompano in 1955 where he landed a job as a math teacher at Blanche Ely High School. He taught at Blanche Ely for 12 years before returing to pursue his master’s degrees in guidance counseling and administration and supervision. He eventually earned a masters degree in both fields from Florida Atlantic University.
Jones then started his administrative career in 1969 as guidance director at Everglades Middle School in Fort Lauderdale, and also worked at Plantation and Pompano Beach high schools before becoming assistant principal and, finally, principal of Blanche Ely in 1980.
When Jones finally retired from the school system in 1992, he established the James L. Jones scholarship at Blanche Ely “because of his sincere concern for children who wanted to attend college but did not have enough money to do so,” said Poitier.
Jones still gives one student $1,000 out of his own pocket each year to help pay for schoolbooks and other college expenses.
“I’ve known Mr. Jones since my high school days in Ely. I graduated back in 1965,” said Poitier. “He’s a very legitimate person. He’s always giving back.”
Apart from his career in education, Jones has also been a tireless community activist serving on numerous city boards, including the Charter Review Board, the Education Advisory Committee, and the chairman of the Community Development Advisory Committee.
Jones is a member of the Kiwanis Club Northwest, the police and firefighter’s pension board and is a founding member of the Eta Nu Chapter of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.
“It wasn’t something that I expected,” Jones said. “But I was grateful and humble that I did receive it.”