Annie Jones, a 2007 graduate of McAllen High, has been appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve on an elite statewide panel.
She will begin her stint as student representative on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board July 17.
“I was delighted and honored to be appointed as the student member of the Coordinating Board,” Jones said in an interview on the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs website. “Most of all, I am excited to be a part of the progress toward the state’s strategic higher education goals.”
Jones is pursuing a law degree and a master’s degree of public affairs from UT Austin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German Studies from Dartmouth College and a Master’s in Political Science with Distinction from the University of Essex.
Each year, the governor of Texas appoints one public university student from across the state to serve on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. This board oversees all public post-secondary education in Texas, according to the story on the website.
In McAllen ISD, she earned multiple honors including International Baccalaureate Diploma recipient; National Merit Scholar; Advanced Placement Scholar with Honors; Magna Cum Laude honors; and first in state in UIL Creative Writing.
She credits the district’s IB Programme with preparing her for college.
“The International Baccalaureate program laid a solid foundation, equipping me with skills and knowledge I needed in college and still draw on every day in graduate-level classes and my career,” Jones said. “As a freshman at an Ivy League university, I was immediately on the same page academically as my classmates, many of whom attended IB programmes themselves.”
“I continue to draw on theories and methods taught by my IB teachers to this day. For instance, the introductory statistics concepts my 11th-grade math teacher, Sandra Semper, taught us formed a crucial basis for concepts taught in advanced graduate-level statistical coursework. The close reading methods taught by my English teacher, Peggy Mott, bear great similarity to how a lawyer might read and break down the meaning of a complicated legal clause in statute.”
“I also respect and appreciate my IB classmates. My classmates have completed or will complete degrees to become doctors, pharmacists, veterinarians, teachers, lawyers and more. Most of my classmates have chosen vocations in service to society. The IB programme brought us together, rounded out our knowledge of the world, and instilled in us a broader perspective.”
While in high school, she played varsity soccer four years, varsity volleyball for two years, served as President of the National Honor Society, was editor of the Salud Literary Magazine and served as a member of the IB Masterminds Team, which won the Masterminds championship in 2005-06.
“I had many wonderful teachers at McAllen ISD — too many to list,” Jones, who also attended Milam Elementary and Travis Middle School, said.
“Memorable elementary and middle school teachers include Mrs. Shea, who taught us about presidents and penguins in second grade at Milam Elementary; Mr. Klingensmith, who enlivened the battles between the Spartans and the Athenians in sixth grade social studies; my sixth grade math teacher Ms. Haught, who prepared me and several of my classmates so well we were able to skip ahead grades in math and science; Mrs. Zenz, who gave me a solid understanding of correct grammar and sentence structure and many more,” Jones said.
“I also had the benefit of truly seasoned and effective teachers in the IB programme, including Ms. Nikstad for biology, Mrs. Henry for social studies, Mrs. Mott for English, and Mrs. Semper for math,” she added. “Our program was supported by the tireless dedication of our IB Coordinator, Jeanette LaFevers, who had an obvious faith in the IB program and in us as students. I also was lucky to have coaches who made a huge impact on my life, such as Coach (Pat) Arney at McHi.”
She is set to graduate with a law and a policy degree next year from UT Austin.
“After graduation and taking the bar, I hope to find a position in Texas drawing on my skill set, possibly as a lawyer or a policy analyst,” Jones said.
She is the daughter of Becky and Foss Jones of McAllen.