By Curt Yeomans
Sharon and Bill Jordan have always stressed the importance of working hard and doing well in school to their children, Kimberly and William.
That standard has had some payoffs over the years. Kimberly, a 2003 graduate of North Clayton High School, was one of the top three students in her class, while younger brother William, who is senior at the school, is also in the top 10 of his class.
While excelling in the classroom, both of the Jordan children excelled in athletic venues. Kimberly was a standout on North Clayton's basketball team, while William excels as a member of the school's football (where he plays offensive guard) and golf teams.
"But, in our house it's always been academics first," said William Jordan.
Jordan recently added a significant feather to an already crowded cap. In addition to his athletic ventures, the youngest Jordan also serves on student advisory councils for North Clayton's Principal Ray Hill and Clayton County Superintendent John Thompson.
He has added another key position to his resume.
Last week, the Georgia Department of Education announced William Jordan will represent Clayton County on State Superintendent Kathy Cox's Student Advisory Council. He is one 55 Georgia students -- out of 700 applicants -- selected to serve on the council.
"The Student Advisory Council is an invaluable resource to me and the leadership of the Georgia Department of Education," said Cox in a statement. "It gives me a tremendous insight into how state policies and procedures are working in the classroom, and it allows me to communicate directly with students in schools throughout Georgia."
If the state appointment wasn't enough, the senior, who has a 3.8 grade point average, was inducted in to North Clayton's chapter of the National Honor Society on Tuesday.
Jordan already has two requests he plans to ask of Cox -- visit all eight of Clayton County's high schools to speak to students about the school system's recent loss of accreditation, and meet with Thompson to discuss ways the state can help Clayton County boost its test scores.
During the process of applying for Cox's advisory council, students were required to write an essay about education issues. Jordan wrote about the accreditation issues in Clayton County. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) revoked the district's accreditation on Sept. 1, after the district met only one out of nine mandates for improvement.
Most of the mandates were directed at a dysfunctional school board. For high school seniors like Jordan, whose list of potential colleges includes the University of Pennsylvania; Harvard University and Georgetown University, the loss of accreditation created some concerns that colleges would not accept them.
Jordan said he's been assured by the schools he's interested in that the lack of accreditation will not be used against him during the admissions process. Still, he takes issues with the idea of students being affected by the actions of Clayton County's Board of Education.
"I put in my essay that accreditation shouldn't have been revoked because it's more an adult issue than a student one," said Jordan.
North Clayton High School Principal Ray Hill said it makes sense for Jordan to be selected as Clayton County's representative on Cox's advisory council because he's been a leader for his classmates for some time. Hill called the senior a "model student," who is part of the "cream of the crop" at his school.
The only times Jordan and Hill have much interaction is through the school's advisory council, or school activities. Hill also said Jordan has never been late to school, or to any of his classes. "I don't think he even has a discipline record," said Hill. "I know the type of person William is, and he's going to represent the county well."