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SHOUT OUT SPOTLIGHT – Risé Jones

I am so pleased to introduce you to the Fabulous Dr. Risé Jones, 2014 SHOUT OUT cast member!

Risé Jones

Risé Dawn Jones is co-founder and Executive Director of Hamilton Wings (www.hamiltonwings.org), a non-profit organization for children that uses the arts as a vehicle for promoting leadership, self-development, and academic readiness skills. Risé  holds a doctorate in pubic policy analysis, and her research/evaluation work has been in the areas of public health and underserved communities; youth development and enrichment programs; and the use of qualitative methodologies to understand many social inequities. Risé is excited about the work of the Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) and proud to be a part of the first KAI SHOUT OUT! Excited About Education!


Risé has been a long time supporter of KAI and we are so pleased to welcome her to our stage to share her insights on education.  Here’s what she said when I asked her a few questions:

  • What is your educational background?   I am a proud product of public education – School District U-46.  I hold a Bachelor’s in psychology, a Master’s in public management and policy, and a Ph.D. in public policy analysis.  I love being a lifelong student and opportunities to learn and be exposed to new and different experiences.
  • If you are employed, what do you do?  I run a non-profit named in my dad’s memory designed to celebrate youth people and give them opportunities to develop and share their “voices” through the Arts.
  • Do you have any favorite teachers?  If so, why were they your favorite?  I have been deeply blessed to have SO many wonderful teachers!  And I continue to have FAVORITE teachers as an adult in the form of mentors, teachers in various art forms, colleagues and professional and life coaches.  They are my favorites because they want so much to give and share what they love; they are encouraging and want me and others to feel like we’re/I’m a part of “something” (whether that be a tradition, a culture/heritage, a movement, a sense of professionalism, etc.), and they have high expectations but they don’t make me feel ashamed about my novice missteps, insecurities, questions, etc.  Additionally and above all, my parents were and still are my most favorite teachers.  Although they are both deceased, I still learn lessons from the lives they led and the legacies of love and care they left behind.  I am so grateful to all of my teachers!
  • Do you have a favorite story (that you’re not telling for the SHOUT OUT) that happened to you during your education?As a proud and rugged, dress-wearing Tomboy, my parents later recounted how they would switch off periodically as to which one would respond to the inevitable lunchtime call from the nurse’s office about my latest playground injury – how I loved recess!
  • What subject in school was your LEAST favorite and why?  History when it was just memorizing dates and names – when “history” is “stories” of amazing and quirky characters making interesting choices during challenging times, it’s fabulous!
  • Did you walk to elementary school or ride a bus? Any funny memories?  I walked – I lived right next door. I just remembered loving elementary school SO MUCH that I would often stay late, even past the departure times of many of the teachers and even past when they turned out the lights – um, yoo hooooo….! 
  • Who do you feel is the hardest working person in an educational system and why?  Anyone who is involved in the educational system is hard working.  Teachers most obviously, but I work so often with dedicated principals that each and every day try to not only provide educational vision and leadership but also balance the interests of multiple educational players and partners; communicate and execute often conflicting educational directives/mandates; locate and partner to garner much needed resources, outside of what is available and allowable in their school budgets, for their students, families, and teachers; maintain and boost school culture and morale while still needing to be technocrats in report compliance, code enforcement, discipline, and much, much more….whew!               Hats off!

Risé will be sharing her story, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing!!!, with us on Monday, November 17th at 7pm in the Kaneland Auditorium.  Tickets are $5 and are available now online (www.kaneland.org) or at the door on Monday.  We hope to see you there!

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