Lt Col Joel Jones, USAF, Retired

Lt Col Joel Jones, USAF, Retired, is the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor at Randolph-Macon Academy, the only private boarding school in the US with a full-time Air Force JROTC program.
Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and Director, AFJROTC

Lieutenant Colonel Joel A. Jones calls teaching his passion and R-MA his dream job. And he happens to love kids. 

Lt Col Jones became the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and Director, AFJROTC, at R-MA in August of 2018. It had been a long wait, as he had been trying to get onto the JROTC staff since 2015, but the waiting wasn’t in vain. He  spent three years as the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor, Air Force JROTC at Patterson High School, Baltimore, Maryland, and during that time, he learned some very important lessons about teaching teenagers. 

“I believe that, as a teacher, my job is not just to transmit new information,” he says. “I see myself as a ‘father.’ I’m there to ‘pat you on the back when you do good; but I’m also there to kick you in the pants when you do bad.’  It’s not about authority - it’s about love. I ‘love’ my students…I genuinely care about their success and well-being.” 

Given all of this, it comes as no surprise Lt Col Jones believes strongly in what Theodore Roosevelt said: “Nobody cares what you know until they know how much you care.” He can be seen throughout campus, connecting with students individually or cheering them on at sporting events--or even performing in a play with them. During his time at Patterson High School, he says, “I learned, ‘REACH ONE; TEACH ONE; SAVE ONE’...every day, every week, every month, every year. If you only do one of these, you can say you’ve succeeded.  Ask that ONE!”    

Lt Col Jones entered the Air Force as a graduate of the ROTC program at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Secondary Education in 1992.  He earned a Master of Science Degree in Workforce Education and Development from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois in 2000 and a Master of Military Operational Art and Science from the Air Command Staff College, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama in 2005.

In his 21 year Air Force career, Lt Col Jones worked nearly all aspects of the personnel career field at the base, wing, Major Command, deployed and Joint Combatant Command Headquarters levels, including assignments as Chief, Education and Training Branch and Section Commander, Headquarters Air Mobility Warfare Center, Fort Dix, New Jersey, Commander, Cadet Squadron 24 and Executive Officer to the Commandant of Cadets at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Commander, 37th Mission Support and 502nd Force Support Squadron, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. In his last assignment, he served as the Chief, Military Personnel Programs/Chief, Senior Officer Management and Air Force Element Commander at the US Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Maryland. He retired from active duty on October 1st, 2013. 

“I had the honor and privilege to serve as a Squadron Commander (known as Air Officer Commanding) at the Air Force Academy,” he says. “In my active duty career, that was the ‘pinnacle’ for me.  Coming to R-MA feels much the same as I felt going to USAFA.”

Lt Col Jones has three daughters, Devin, 26, Jordan, 24 and Cameron, 20 and he is the grandfather to two little boys, Oliver and Owen. Lt Col Jones also has a 12-year old Bichon-Frise/Poodle mix named ‘Nala’ who loves to walk him twice a day.  In his free time, Col Jones is an avid golfer and shooting sports enthusiast. He is an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor and has experience as a personal safety and martial arts instructor. 

  • M.A., USAF Air Command and Staff College
  • M.S. Ed., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • B.S., Louisiana State University
  • Courses: Aerospace IV
  • R-MA Mentor, Kitty Hawk Honor Society Faculty Advisor, Armed Drill Team Assistant Coach, Special Guest to R-MA Drama Department's Lion King 2018