An Oklahoma mother was recently named the National Mother of the Year by the national nonprofit American Mothers, Inc. (AMI). Dr. Mautra Staley Jones received the 2021 National Mother of the Year® award at the non-profit’s 86th National Convention.
Working mothers are superheroes and AMI uses its platform to appreciate mothers, especially those who have an impact not only in their homes but communities as well. Mothers from 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are recognized for this award and Jones is the 75th person from Oklahoma to have the title.
Jones defies the stereotypical image associated with Black motherhood. The mother of three is married to U.S. District Judge Bernard M. Jones II. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma, an M.B.A., and an Ed.D. from Vanderbilt University.
Per AMI, she is highly regarded as a young, thought leader in Oklahoma and is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and External Affairs at the historic Langston University. Jones leads the HBCU’s Oklahoma City campus as site administrator and is the executive director of the Langston University Foundation.
Aside from being a homemaker, Jones balances the work-mother life so well and has held several positions with many philanthropic and civic groups, earning multiple accolades within a broad assortment of agencies, per AMI’s site.
“Being a mother is not for the faint of heart. It comes with its challenges. It teaches you tenacity, patience, flexibility, knowing that every single day looks different. But I think those challenges make you stronger.
“And I can say that being a mother has made me a stronger professional, a stronger community servant. I bring everything along with that amazing maternal energy, and I get to put it into play every single day,” Jones told AMI.
Her goal is to make “higher education systems more equitable” and her work so far is evident in most of the children and young adults in her community.
“When you have someone, who understands the realities of growing up in extreme poverty, of having to really fight through and remain positive and cheerful. To remain an eternal optimist shows that life is what you make it. And, being a mother allows me to manifest all of that positivity,” she said.
“There’s power in the words of our testimony—the power to heal and help others, power to encourage or just simply give someone a spark of hope.”
Connell Branan, President of American Mothers, Inc. said each year, a mother is chosen. He said the “decision is never easy as the mothers who represent each state embody all the admirable qualities for which the first Mother of the Year® was named in 1935.”
The selection committee is made of diverse individuals from across the country who represent the business, education, government, religious, and/or non-profit sectors.
“We are excited to see Dr. Mautra Staley Jones join the legacy of our historic organization and the work we do. We believe she will be a strong representative to carry forward the voices of moms from across the country,” said Branan