Wilbur Jones was appointed to the Clintondale school board at its March 18 meeting.

Wilbur Jones was appointed to the Clintondale school board at its March 18 meeting.

Photo provided by Clintondale Community Schools

Clintondale school board gets new member

By: Nick Powers | C&G Newspapers | Published April 1, 2024


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Wilbur Jones is taking years of experience in the military, education and sports back to the community where he grew up. He’s hoping to bring people together.

“An open view of our community, the connection back to our community,” Jones said in an interview following the meeting about what he brings to the board. “Trying to get our parents involved in what the school system does.”

Jones was appointed to the Clintondale Community Schools Board of Education at its March 18 meeting, filling a vacancy left by Beverly Lewis-Moss, who left the board in February. He hopes to bring a new perspective.

“Just another fresh, motivated face in there on decision making and bringing ideas,” said Jones, a 1982 Clintondale grad. “I see a lot of things I know they don’t see because I’ve been a teacher. I’ve been in the system and I’ve been a teacher of the kids they have the most of, which is African American.”

During his 20 years in the United States Army, Jones had tours in the Persian Gulf War, Bosnia, Germany and Kosovo. While there, he learned the value of unity.

“When you come in as a soldier, you’re in a group with all these other soldiers,” Jones said. “They all look different and come from different places. You watch this drill sergeant make us one.”

He retired in 2003, becoming a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps educator in Pontiac. He was there for 20 years. He also coached boys and girls basketball at Mount Clemens and the South Lake district in St. Clair Shores. He’s currently the girls hoops coach at the latter. Through it all, he hoped to eventually return to Clintondale at some point.

“The opportunity presented itself on the school board,” Jones said. “I’m like, ‘I’ve got to take this opportunity to get on the school board and see if I can make a difference,’ and that’s what I did.”

“I’m extremely excited to have him on the board,” Clintondale Superintendent Kenneth Janczarek said in an interview following the meeting. “He’s been an ROTC teacher before in the Pontiac school district. He has a great wealth of knowledge in the community and I’m excited to have him there.”

“I’m ecstatic,” Board President Jared Maynard said. “He’s going to be great. He is very knowledgeable, very level-headed and calm. He brings a great perspective to the board as a veteran.”

Jones has seen problems develop at other schools when issues aren’t addressed early. He’s looking to change that at Clintondale.

“Let’s try to learn to be proactive and prepare ourselves to head a lot of these things off,” Jones said.

Jones said it can help to have someone on the board from the community it represents — a person who can understand its specific needs.

“That person needed to come from a community of us,” Jones said. “Not from somewhere where the system was so perfect or the kids so perfect that they couldn’t relate to our kids. That’s what you had. Those types of people sitting on boards that didn’t really represent the community. They made decisions for people they really didn’t know. Once I started realizing that I was like, ‘One day I hope I’m able to go back home and be a part of the school system.’”

The budget and getting more people on the board are other concerns he has as a new member. He wants to make sure to do what’s best for the students.

“These children at Clintondale, what makes them better?” Jones said. “How do we push them forward educationally? And if they don’t go to college, how do we push them into a place where they can become successful?”

In addition to his work in education, Jones has been a deacon at Greater Life International Ministries in Clinton Township since 2007.

“I came back home to the church I grew up in and the pastor saw something in me,” Jones said.