Above, Cowan Avenue Elementary teacher Michelle Gaines-Jones is known for bringing out the best in her students through high expectations and positive affirmation.

A former bank vice president, Michelle Gaines-Jones is sharing her numerical talents with students at Cowan Avenue Elementary School.

Teacher and Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11, and LAUSD Daily is celebrating the classroom heroes who work every day to educate, lead, mentor and inspire the students of L.A. Unified. Each day this week, we are profiling a teacher or substitute teacher selected by their Local District administrators as an example of the highly skilled and dedicated professionals who make up our teaching corps. Today, we feature Michelle Gaines-Jones, a sixth-grade math teacher at Cowan Avenue Elementary Gifted/Highly Gifted/High Ability Magnet.

If there is anyone who knows numbers, it’s Michelle Gaines-Jones.

A former bank vice president, Gaines-Jones now teaches math to gifted and highly gifted students at Cowan Avenue Elementary School in West Los Angeles.

She has earned a reputation as a strong and accomplished teacher who brings out the best in her students through high expectations and positive affirmation. And the same level of acumen she exercised in the decade she worked in the financial industry is now on full display in her classroom.

“Education is the greatest equalizer, it’s the greatest asset,” she said. “No one can ever take that from you.”

Just as Gaines-Jones developed strong management skills as a banking official, she has earned a stellar reputation for her collaborative classroom management. Her students praise her ability to keep them engaged and motivated as they tackle the rigorous assignments propelling them toward college and career.

“She works to instill confidence in each one of her students,” said Principal Ricard Da Sylveira.

Gaines-Jones began her teaching career in 1999, shortly after the birth of her first child. She taught for a number of years at Horace Mann, Orville Wright and Paul Revere Middle schools, before finding her home at the Cowan magnet in 2010. She always has demanded excellence from her students, an expectation that is rooted in the high personal standards she sets for herself.

In order for students, to be successful, she often says, “We have to inspect what we expect.”