Alumni Spotlight: Moriah Jones `13

Graceland alum Moriah Jones `13

“I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher until I took my Advanced Placement (AP) history classes in high school.” Moriah Jones ʼ13recognized the powerful impact teachers can have on students and decided her best approach in life would be to follow their example.

“Nursing and social work were too heavy on my heart, so teaching felt like the right fit for me.”

Jones knew she could make a positive impact on her students’ lives because she was fortunate to have dedicated teachers who were great examples; who mentored, lead, supported and affirmed her.

Gleazer School of Education Professor Michele Dickey-Kotz remembers Jones as a bright student and relayed, “I enjoy working with students who have a sense of direction in their lives and who take responsibility for making things happen. Moriah is a woman of many talents who has decided the best way she can make a difference in this crazy, mixed-up world is to teach. Her drive to succeed is superseded only by her desire to promote positive change in a world that cries out for rebuilding/restructuring. I am proud to call her my colleague.”

When Jones was at Graceland, she gravitated to history because she enjoyed the research. “I feel like no matter how much I study or how much I know something about an event or person in history, there is so much more I can find out. It’s the hunt to always learn more that makes me enjoy the subject the most.”

"The best thing I like about my job is really getting to know the students. I form a bond with high school students because I can relate with their struggles – trying to figure out what to do with their lives, trying to balance and figure out where they’re going to college, or even if they want to go to college. I also like to see them grow and gain experience. I didn’t realize how much I would get attached to them!"

This year, Moriah accepted a more challenging teaching schedule with AP history classes and had to take a break from another one of her favorite jobs: coaching volleyball. She was still able to give private lessons but plans to continue her coaching role next fall as a coach for sixth- and seventh-grade volleyball teams.

Jones was involved with athletics while at Graceland and, at first, was worried that Lamoni might not have many people from places outside of Iowa. “I met so many awesome people from all over the world and formed a family on our team. Graceland volleyball was all year round basically, and we bonded from that teamwork.”

After she graduated from Graceland, Jones taught two years at Center School District in Kansas City with the placement help of Dickey-Kotz. She jumped at the opportunity to move to Texas and teach 10th-grade AP World History at IDEA San Benito in Brownsville, Texas. IDEA was recently named America’s Best Charter School Network.

Jones has found her niche and plans to stay in teaching. “I would like to be the course leader – the teacher in charge of all the other teachers in the region – for AP world history. The pedagogical side of education is really like coaching; something I really like to do.”