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Dr. Zona W. Jefferson
Dr. Zona W. Jefferson

Winthrop University and the University of South Carolina provided the education experiences and degrees that catapulated Jefferson's career in education which spanned 39 years and beyond.

The 39 years of service (plus five intermittent years) in education are packed with so many rewards. She began her career in Sumter School District 17 and retired from there in 2011.  The days of teaching mathematics at Bates and Alice Drive Middle Schools proved to be very rewarding as well as valuable training places that prepared her for administrative positions as assistant principal and principal, at Millwood and Alice Drive Elementary schools. The challenges of service as an assistant superintendent and superintendent served as a constant reminder of the value of public education in a democratic society.  The five years as a clinical professor at the University of South Carolina provided an analysis of the education programing and leadership development.

November 1996 it was announce that Jefferson was a Milken Family Foundation National Educator. Other awards include: "Rotarian of the Year" by the Rotary Club of Sumter Sunrise, "President's Award" given by the South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators, and numerous local awards.

Her motto is, "to whom much is given, much is required."  Therefore, she engaged in a rich history of service to the community via numerous civic and social organizations, board and committees. The following are a some of her service organizations participation: YMCA Board of Director; TWIN Honoree Committee; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Eta Zeta Omega Chapter (Business Manager); NAACP (Statewide Leadership Committee); United Way; Rotary Club of Sumter Sunrise (Director - Avenue of Service); BB&T City Advisory Board (Chairman) and St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church (Chairman of the Finance Committee).

Jefferson's past and present professional affiliations include: South Carolina Alliance of Black School Educators (President and Executive Director); National Alliance of Black School Educators (Legislative Committee); American Association of School Administrators (Board Member); South Carolina Association of School Administrators (President of the Superintendents' Division); South Carolina Association of Elementary Principals; Phi Delta Kappa, Pee Dee Chapter and Delta Kappa Gamma International Society, Alpha Kappa Chapter (President).

Her family consists of a husband of 43 years, a son who followed in his father's military footsteps, a daughter who accepted the challenge of following her mom, grandmother, and aunt in education, three grandchildren and a daughter-in-law.

Well-traveled, Jefferson hiked the Eiffel Tower, attended Sunday morning mass at Notre Dame Cathedral; looked the Mona Lisa straight in the eye (has the selfie to prove it), sailed on the Blue Danube, visited the Last Supper mural in Milan, Italy; visited a kindergarten class in the Eiffel Region of Germany, had lunch with the Pacific Schools Superintendent in Okinawa, visited an early childhood class in Okinawa, visited the world's largest aquarium in Okinawa, and got lost in Misawa, Japan.