Edie Jones has a background in early childhood education. photo by John Griffith
By John Griffith
Local youth camp owner and early childhood education activist Edie Jones is running for Position 3 on the Sisters School Board. This election is for a two-year term to finish out the term of Christine Jones. Melvin Herburger is the other candidate for this position.
Edie Jones has actually written "the book" on the importance of early childhood education. The working title is "Raising Kids with Love, Honor and Respect," and the book is a direct result of her 20 years with the Together For Children program. She served as director of the program for the last 10 years. Although she recently retired from the program she remains on the board.
A key premise of the program is that parents are a child's first teacher, hence coaching the parent to be an effective teacher is vital.
With a family of teachers in her background, Jones was determined to go a different direction. She took her undergraduate degree in recreation with a concentration on dance from Washington State University. Working from a passion for outdoor recreation fueled by her early Campfire Girl days, she ended up working for the Girl Scouts of America in Louisville for 11 years, where she focused on the adult education side of the program.
Building on her early work as an educational consultant, traveling between schools setting up physical education programs for schools, park and recreation organizations and senior centers, Jones went back and got her masters in Adult Education at OSU in 1991.
Jones has chosen to run for school board at this time primarily because, "right now there is a strong emphasis from the governor on early childhood education. There is the Oregon Education Investment board and the Early Learning Council," said Jones. "Many programs that have made a huge difference in the lives of kids won't be getting those dollars (they will be going to the new initiatives). It is important to make sure that those dollars come back to the communities. There needs to be some advocacy to keep those dollars local.
"I've observed the board meetings, and the school board works well together," said Jones. "They are there for the right reasons, and the teachers giving presentations are so excited about their work and their kids. At the same time I have heard from some parents that are not pleased about what is happening with their children in the classroom. It is important that we listen and respond to these voices, also."
Jones encourages parental involvement.
"I would like to send a message to voters for them to be aware that our school system really depends on parents really being involved in the early education of their kids. Kids need a foundation that is so strong that they can't do anything but succeed," she said.
Jones is well-known in the community for her operation of Camp Tamarack.
Although she and her husband married in Montana, his engineering job for Boeing, freelance photography and ultimately advertising work took the family through a number of states including Minnesota, Kentucky, and Washington.
When the last of their four children started college, Jones' husband took early retirement, got his MBA, and the couple took action to fulfill Edie's lifetime dream of owning and operating a summer camp. They moved from Tacoma to Sisters in 1991 to purchase and operate Camp Tamarack, located 15 miles west of Sisters on Dark Lake. Although they have a house in town, Edie lived out at the camp during the summer. They ran the camp for 11 years.