News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, July 12, 2018
Harbor School principal steps down to ‘recharge’

Joshua Jones

Joshua Jones.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

After six years as teaching principal at Blue Hill Harbor School, Joshua Jones will step down this month to take a sort of sabbatical, while applying for the chaplaincy program at Eastern Maine Medical Center, continuing as an adjunct teacher at the UMaine Honors College, and just to recharge.

“I have a 3-year-old son and aging parents and a lot on my plate,” he said recently.

When Jones came to the project-based learning high school in 2012, then three years old, the enrollment stood at 12 students.

Now, it is up to 30. “We’re still working to get that same sense of community we had with that smaller school,” Jones said. “We feel we’re a little bit in the wilderness between home school and small school.”

At the same time, Jones said it’s a good time to be a young, small school because it can adapt quickly to changes.”

For Jones, one big question for schools is “whether or not education should be safe. There’s always parts of education that are risky,” he said. An education and school that protects students may not prepare them for the larger world.

“I think we would be making a mistake in education if we prepare [students] for a safe world,” Jones said. “But we want them to feel loved and supported. I think that’s a challenge for modern education.”

Jones sees the chaplaincy program as a way “to get my feet wet with ministry,” he said. “I think chaplaincy is a time to speak with people when they might be facing some large and scary moments.”

He may be stepping away from high school education, but Jones said everyone “should spend some time there. Everyone can learn a lot from students.”

And despite what he describes as the increasing number of demands placed on schools, he said “one of the more important things over time has been helping form the character of students even as they develop skills and gain knowledge.”

Jones will continue to live in Blue Hill with his family.