‘Dr. Drizzle’ Inspires Discovery Education in Durham Public Schools

‘Dr. Drizzle’ Inspires Discovery Education in Durham Public Schools

As K-5 District Science Specialist and STEM Educator at Durham Public Schools, Dacia Jones encourages her students to reach their full potentials

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Photo by Briana Brough

With 20 years of teaching under her belt, Dacia Jones holds degrees in elementary education, science and music, her “true passions.” She regularly presents at the National Council of Teaching Mathematics conferences in addition to the National Science Teachers Association and International Society for Technology in Education, among others. She and her husband, Steve, are parents to daughters Katie, a social work major at Western Carolina University, and Mollie Jones McGuire, a social worker with Child Protective Services who is entering law school at UNC, and recently welcomed their new grandson, Oliver Grey McGuire.


“I am a discovery education guru and program champion. My job involves teaching staff and students how to implement science, technology, engineering and mathematics into everyday instruction. I get to wear a lab coat, lead labs for 500-plus students a day and blow things up. I am a huge fan of virtual field trips and Skype/Google Hangout opportunities.

My mother, who taught in the classroom for 30 years and passed away 20 years ago, told me this: ‘Dacia, relationships are the most important part of any job you will ever have. Whether it is as a wife, a mom, a friend or a teacher. If you develop that first, everything else will fall in place.’ She was absolutely right. I miss her so much to this day, but I carry her with me into every classroom … and all aspects of my life.

My favorite moment in Durham Public Schools was actually dissecting frogs with fifth-graders. One of the students had some behavior challenges, so the teachers were not sure that he would make it through the entire dissection. But he did. He was fascinated by the way the body systems were connected and how they mimicked his own. At the end of the lab, he asked me this question: ‘Dr. Drizzle,’ – that’s what the teachers and students call me – ‘do you think if I try to stay in school and quit messing around that I could go to college?’ I told them that I absolutely knew that he could. He said, ‘Then I want to be a doctor. I want to find a way to make my Poppa stop shaking all the time.’

I believe that what we do today, as educators, will impact what our students will do in 20 years – we should inspire students by introducing them to what they can do when they finish school. We cannot let these moments pass us by. My desire is to empower educators with the ability to engage students and make a difference each and every day. It’s a lofty goal, but it is my superpower!”


BEYOND THE CLASSROOM

“[Dacia] does amazing things for our kids. She was recently named a Discovery Education Program Champion for the 2015-16 school year. [In January], she moderated a virtual field trip for approximately 100 Durham Public School elementary classrooms, plus other schools across the country, with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. She is truly an exceptional educator!”

Janet DelPinal, marketing/communications specialist at Durham Public Schools


Photo by Briana Brough.

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Amanda MacLaren
Amanda MacLaren is the executive editor of Durham Magazine. Born in Mesa, Ariz., she grew up in Charlotte and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, majoring in journalism. She’s lived in Durham for five years now. When she’s not at work, you can usually find her with a beer in hand at Fullsteam, Dain’s Place or Bull City Burger or getting takeout from Chubby’s.