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District 196 selects Virgil Jones for new equity director cabinet position

District 196 Superintendent Mary Kreger on Tuesday announced the hiring of Apple Valley High School Assistant Principal Virgil Jones to be the district’s director of equity and inclusion, and member of the superintendent’s leadership team.

Jones is in his eighth year in District 196, the first two as the 9th-grade student assistance coordinator for Rosemount High School and the last six years as assistant principal and athletics director at Apple Valley. Prior to coming to District 196, Jones spent seven years at Gustavus Adolphus College as the assistant dean of students and director of the school’s Office of Multicultural Programs.

This new director-level position is part of the superintendent’s plan to improve equity and inclusion, and address systemic racism in the district. Equity and inclusion work was previously part of the district’s Teaching and Learning Department and was led by a coordinator who resigned from the position in January. Filling the still vacant coordinator position will be among Jones’s first duties.

“Equity and inclusion are considered in almost every decision we make,” Kreger said. “Virgil is a proven leader in this area and exactly the right person to move our district forward with this critical work.”

As director of the Equity and Inclusion Department, Jones will oversee the coordinator and a team of cultural family advocates who provide direct service to students and families of color and multilingual students and families. He will also help lead the district’s Equity Advisory Council, which Kreger recommended and the School Board approved last year. The council’s role is to review data and programs, offer multiple perspectives and participate in community outreach. The council can make recommendations to the superintendent’s cabinet on potential changes to ensure equitable practices and systems, and to eliminate the predictability of student achievement based on race, gender, special education status or eligibility for free and reduced-price meals.

“I look forward to working with students, parents, staff and members of our district learning community to create educational environments where every student feels welcome and excited about learning,” Jones said. “Our schools should continue to improve cultural awareness in all classrooms and be brave spaces for voices of inclusion.”

Jones has a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, earned his

master’s degree in leadership in student affairs from the University of St. Thomas and has his principal licensure from Minnesota State University, Mankato.