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Roy Ann Jolley: Celebrating 50 Years in Florence 1 Schools

Roy Ann Jolley: Celebrating 50 Years in Florence 1 Schools

On Friday, September 1st, Delmae Elementary honored Principal Roy Ann Jolley's 50th year in Florence 1 Schools with a surprise celebration. Students and staff gathered while Ms. Jolley was kept busy at another location. Ms. Jolley has had a wonderful career so far and her story was the first in our employee spotlight series called Where We Are Now. Please enjoy Ms. Jolley's story below.

After fifty years as an educator in Florence 1, Roy Ann Jolley has many stories to tell and a lot of wisdom to share. A  graduate of the Wilson High School Class of 1971, Jolley has been principal at Delmae Heights Elementary School for the last 25 years. She said that she’s never even considered working in another district.

“Florence is home,” Jolley said. “To be able to work at home and make a difference at home is special.” 

Jolley attended elementary school at Holmes Elementary School. During those elementary years, schools were still segregated. It wasn’t until her senior year of high school that they were fully integrated. Though she was zoned for McClenaghan High School then, she was allowed to remain at Wilson because she was a senior which suited her just fine because “I bleed purple blood,” Jolley said. “I’m one of those Tigers.”

Jolley has many memories of former teachers but when asked to name someone who inspired her, one name came immediately to mind: John Douglas, an economics teacher at Wilson.

“He was the one who showed me that learning could be fun. It could be different from the norm. I remember his grading system so well. You could earn so much money during the course of a grading period based on your assignments, your work, and your participation in class. At the end of the quarter, based on the money that you earned, you could ‘buy’ yourself an A, a B, a C, but it wasn’t necessarily buying the grade because you had worked hard. People always think social studies and history are boring but he made it innovative and fun.”

Along the way, she has had the pleasure of seeing former students become educators themselves, including Wilson’s principal Dr. Eric Robinson who she taught when he was in first grade.

Jolley’s philosophy is “If you love the kids, we can fix the rest of it” because she says loving students is always the most important starting point when solving a problem. And though she did not intend to become an educator, “I look at it now that I had one plan and God had another.”