Jada grew up in Ragland, the daughter of J. D. and Bettye Arnold, who have been married 58 years. Her older brothers, Bart and Joey, are JSU graduates and educators. Bart is a retired school principal in Ashland. Joey teaches in Cedartown, Ga. Their wives are also teachers.
As fate would have it, Jada married someone in education who is also a JSU graduate. Her husband, John, has recently been named head football coach at JSU.
“We feel like we’ve come full circle,” said Jada. “We’re back at the university where it all started. It’s like coming home. We’re enjoying seeing our former professors and people we knew while we were in school. We love that family atmosphere that Jacksonville has.”
John and Jada have three children. Judson Connor is 11, Jules Marie is 8, and Jace Cannon is 5. The family currently lives in Oxford, where the children are in school, but their parents are looking for a home in Jacksonville.
“We feel like if we could freeze time right now it would be wonderful,” said Jada. “We love the ages our children are. They’re our life. We were married seven years before we had Judson. That’s when life began. I can’t say we don’t stay busy, but they bring so much joy, laughter and smiles into our home.”
Before their children were born, Jada taught high school math at Springville in St. Clair County and Hoover in Jefferson County. She said her fourth grade teacher, Barbara Dover, was her inspiration to become a teacher.
“I think you’re born a teacher,” said Jada. “But once I had Mrs. Dover, I knew I wanted to be a math teacher. It started early. I’ve always loved children and I’ve always loved math.”
Jada said when their first child was born, her teaching career ended.
“I have seven years of teaching under my belt and I loved every minute of it,” she said. “But as long as my babies need me, I’m going to be at home with them.”
Jada said growing up with two brothers was like having three fathers.
“We had a wonderful childhood,” she said. “My older brother liked a month being 16 and my younger brother liked two months being 14 when I was born. They looked after me for sure and were always checking up on my dates.”
The family attends Grace Baptist Church in Oxford where Jada helps teach Wednesday night youth ages kindergarten through sixth grade. She has been director of the Miss Oxford Pageant for the past six years.
“We’re in the middle of all that right now,” she said. “It’s a scholarship pageant.”
Jada said that taking care of her children and seeing that they enjoy their lives is what she likes to do most. She also likes to scrap book and travel with her family. Disneyworld is a favorite vacation spot.
“We spend a lot of family time together,” she said. “We play board games and watch movies. I love to feed my family. There’s nothing that gives me a greater sense of satisfaction than seeing my children eat and us eating together as a family. I guess it’s the mother in me.”
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.
1 ½ lbs. ground chuck (makes about 20 balls)
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 – 26 oz. family size cream of mushroom
Combine the onion soup mix with the ground chuck and knead together with your hands. Roll up combined mixture into balls. Spray skillet with Pam and brown meatball on all 4 sides until all meatballs are done. Set the browned meatballs aside. In skillet, pour cream of mushroom soup and heat thoroughly. Add the meatballs back into the cream of mushroom gravy. Let simmer on low with lid on skillet for 50 minutes. Perfect to serve over white rice, noodles or mashed potatoes.
Ramen Noodle Salad(Recipe can be doubled for larger groups)
1 pack slaw
¼ c. green onions, finely chopped
¼ c. sunflower seeds
¼ c. almonds, sliced
2 packs Ramen noodles (chicken flavor), broken into small pieces
¾ cup oil
1 T. pepper
4 T. vinegar
4 T. sugar
1 of the chicken pack flavorings in Ramen noodle package
Pour all ingredients into bowl. Toss around with hands until all mixture is combined. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Best to prepare the night before.
Buffalo Wing Dip (Great for tailgating)
2 cans shredded chicken, drained
2 – 8 oz. blocks cream cheese
½ bottle Moore’s Buffalo Sauce
1 c. Ranch dressing
1 ½ c. shredded cheese
Mix chicken and wing sauce in skillet until warm. Add cream cheese and Ranch dressing until melted. Add ¾ c. cheese in skillet until melted. Spoon in Pyrex dish and put into oven on 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Serve with tortilla scoops or chips.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 c. shortening
1 c. brown sugar
½ c. sugar
2 t. vanilla extract
Mix all the above ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, sift the following ingredients:
2 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
Slowly add above flour mixture into the first bowl mixture. Stir in by hand a 12-14 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon out tablespoon size mixture onto sprayed baking pan. Normally, there are about 24 cookies per recipe. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.