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Shelly Jones



Tuscaloosa, AL-(July 9, 2020) Shelley Jones, a retired, multi-award winning Tuscaloosa City Schools educator and principal, will chair the 2020 United Way of West Alabama (UWWA) Campaign. As the Campaign Chair, Jones leads the fundraising efforts by guiding the campaign cabinet and UWWA campaign staff, identifying new sources for funding, strengthening existing relationships with UWWA’s current individual and corporate donors and inciting fellow community leaders to join her efforts in garnering crucial financial support for UWWA’s 26 partner agencies across West Alabama.

“This is going to be a very unique (UWWA) campaign for a number of reasons,” stated Jones. “Some of our agencies need help now more than ever before because COVID-19 has either forced them to close their doors or reduce services out of concern for vulnerable clients or costs have increased to comply with the guidelines and safety measures. Either way, most are relying on our support,” she said.

UWWA raises money for 26 local nonprofits. Among them are agencies such as Caring Days Adult Day Care Center and FOCUS 50+ whose senior client base would be at risk if programs carried on as normal and have had to instead focus efforts on helping clients with safe transportation to necessary medical appointments and food assistance. Others such as The Arc of Tuscaloosa whose clients include those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and Arts ’n Autism with summer classes typically filled with young clients with autism, have been forced to completely halt operations. As a result, grant money and other income they rely on as part of their operational budget has been non-existent.

“We also rely on meeting with employees and company CEOs and UWWA champions face to face each year. We try and build strong, authentic relationships with our donors,” Jones added. “That is hard to replicate on that same level over a Zoom meeting or phone call. But we’ll keep trying and do the very best we can do for those agencies and clients counting on us to deliver.”

Jones has long been an active community leader in both the educational arena first as a teacher at Northington Elementary and then a principal at Woodland Forrest Elementary. She is the recipient of countless awards for her work in education including The University of Alabama National Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award (2017), three-time State PTA Outstanding Local Unit in Alabama Award, District III Alabama Association Elementary School Administrators Distinguished Principal Award, State PTA Outstanding Elementary Principal of the Year, National PTA Phoebe Apperson Hearst Outstanding Educator Award Honorable Mention and Alabama National Distinguished Principal Award. After retiring, she served eight years as a city school board member.

Beyond her dedication to education in Tuscaloosa, she was selected for Leadership Alabama Class XIV in 2003 and later served on its Board of Advisors. She was among the first members of The University of Alabama’s College of Education board of advisors and served as an adjunct instructor in the UA Honors College. Jones has been a guiding force on both the recent Elevate Tuscaloosa Task Force and Tuscaloosa 200 Bicentennial Committee as the Community Involvement Chair. She has served on the boards of DCH Foundation and Community Foundation of West Alabama. Currently, she is a member of the UWWA Board of Directors. She has been named both Tuscaloosa County Citizen of the Year (2006) and a Pillar of the Community by the Community Foundation of West Alabama (2007). She was inducted in the Tuscaloosa County Civic Hall of Fame in 2010.

“We could not have chosen a more perfect person to guide us during this challenging and uncertain time,” said Jackie Wuska, President and CEO of UWWA. “She is a natural leader and admired by so many in our community. Perhaps more importantly, she leads with a servant’s heart, with optimism and with an underlying empathy for others. She realizes the need within our community and inspires others to follow her example in making this a successful campaign.”

Jones is a longtime, 58-year resident of Tuscaloosa. She has degrees from The University of Kentucky and The University of Alabama. She is the wife of the late Thomas L. Jones, retired professor of law at The University of Alabama Law School. Together they made a lasting mark on education in Tuscaloosa.

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Monique Scott

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