Jo Ann Ford’s visions for Georgetown live on
Folks seldom forgot Jo Ann Ford (1933–2006) after meeting her. A woman of booming voice, large physique, and even larger ideas and intellect, she stood tall as a leader, often enlisting helpers with the words, “Have I got an opportunity for you!” Her energy and dedication were hard to resist. Susan Holmstrom, a longtime colleague, says, “She made you believe in her, the students, and yourself. She demanded much of her staff. . . . Under her leadership, programs were introduced that empowered children” in many ways.
Such programs included peer mediation, special Veterans Day programs, Williamson County Family Outreach, computer classes for parents, mentors for Jarrell students, geography bees between students and Sun Citians, and additional counseling services. Dr. Ford also organized free medical, dental, and vision treatment through Mission of Mercy on designated weekends in San Gabriel Park; doctors donated their services to low-income families.
Dr. Ford’s career in education spanned nearly 50 years. She served Georgetown schools from 1968 until retirement in 2000 and continued to mentor after that. She was principal at Carver, Williams, Pickett, and Benold. Being legally blind seldom slowed Dr. Ford; she used a lighted pedestal magnifying glass to read widely and to organize with well-planned lists. Few details escaped her attention. She also prioritized interactions with students on her campuses.
In 2001, Dr. Ford mobilized several local doctors in realizing her dream for a community clinic to serve children on Medicaid. The clinic continues today as part of the Lone Star Circle of Care.
Alison Bencivenga taught under Dr. Ford at Pickett and Benold. “She knew that for children to thrive, they needed attention paid to home environments and health concerns,” she recalls. “My respect and admiration still mark her as one of the most memorable people I will ever know.”
“At a time when we face stark choices about how best to strengthen the future of our great nation, our commitment to education and to children must stand absolutely firm.”
—Jo Ann Ford
See more details about Dr. Ford at www.georgetownisd.org/ford.