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Mrs. Stone: Top 12 Under 40

posted Apr 19, 2017, 11:50 AM by Shelley Burge   [ updated Apr 19, 2017, 11:52 AM ]
Congratulations to Mrs. Stone for being selected as one of the Hattiesburg American's Top 12 Under 40.  She proudly represents FCAHS as a teacher, a coach, and an alumna. 


From the Hattiesburg American website:

Tiffany Stone's classroom is a portrait in chaos with some students working on the floor while others hover over desks scattered haphazardly around the room.  But don't let the noise and atmosphere give the wrong impression — Stone has everything in hand. She is crouched down with her teenage charges helping them work through a complicated exercise involving measurement of the light spectrum.  "At first, I had strict 'you don't do this, you don't do that' rules," she said. "I was going home crying every afternoon. I was writing kids up for not respecting me.  Then I started over. Now, I'm more like a mom. You have to learn to let some things go."

Stone, 30, has been teaching science and coaching soccer at Forrest County Agricultural High School since 2014, after six years at Lumberton High. She's glad to be at FCAHS.  "I went to high school here — I graduated in '04," she said. "I played soccer here, so it was a dream and a hope that I would get to teach science and coach here.  To be back home where I know everyone — I feel like we're a big family. I know most of my colleagues. I know my students' parents and grandparents."  Stone has a special bond with her students, and she lets them know it at the end of every class.  "From day one I tell them I love them," she said. "At first, they say, 'No you don't.' But now they won't leave unless I say it."

Teresa Poston, Stone's mentor teacher at Lumberton High, said Stone means those three words.  "She follows it up with action," Poston said. "She attends school events. She does whatever she can to make students successful." Poston said Stone is a natural teacher, even though biology, not education, was her undergraduate degree.  She has a passion for what she's teaching and for the kids — you can't learn that in college," Poston said. "You either have it or you don't, and she's got it."

Stone said she enjoys teaching high school students.  "They're getting to be young adults, and they're apt to understand what I'm saying," she said. "They're starting to understand relationships.  My biggest thing is building that respect relationship where you respect them and they respect you.

Stone also likes her role as a coach, which she says allows her to mentor her female players.  "They can come to me — (and I can say) 'Can I help you?'" she said. "I love to see people succeed.  When we win, they are fired up. When we lose, I say, 'We can do better next time.'"

One would think with a busy school schedule, Stone would take a break during the summer. But instead, she's volunteered at Abbie Rogers Civitan Camp for the past 16 years. She helps with the adult campers, who have various cognitive disabilities, and assists the teenage volunteers.  "I like the fact that I can help people and make them enjoy what's going on around them," she said. "At Civitan Camp, I'm dealing with teenagers who are counselors for the adults.  I interact with them and enjoy it. It's a whole 'nother level of funness."

Kay Boone is in charge of staff at the camp where Stone has been Boone's assistant for years.  "She started out as a counselor when she was in high school, and she's stuck with it all these years," Boone said. "The camp has grown to 175 volunteers and 110 adult campers. They love her. She has a good relationship with them."  Boone said it takes a special kind of person to volunteer at Civitan Camp.  "It takes somebody who has a love for people and somebody who is willing to make the best of things," she said. "(Tiffany) can do that."

Stone also volunteers at Northwood Church in Wiggins, where she leads discussions for junior and high school girls' youth groups.  Pastor Mike Minnis said Stone is one of his trusted leaders who has served successfully in a variety of capacities. "She is encouraging and inspirational (to the girls) — training them to be more Christ-like and realize they need each other in life," he said. "She can be on any team, and she will make people want to be there. She makes things fun."

Stone said it's fun for her to be a teacher, but she really joined the profession because she wanted to change the world.  "I've realized, nine years in, that's really hard to do," she said. "But I see those students I had eight or nine years ago and they're married with college degrees, and it makes it all worth it."

At a glance

Tiffany Stone

Age: 30

City of residence: Wiggins

Occupation: Science teacher, soccer coach

Education: Bachelor's in biology, William Carey University, 2008; Master of Education, William Carey, 2009

Career: Teacher, Lumberton High School, 2008-2014; teacher, Forrest County Agricultural High School, 2014-present

Best advice to young professionals: Build healthy relationships with the right people and take criticism in a way that betters you.
Top 12 Under 40

The Pine Belt is full of young professionals who have achieved career success, all while making a difference in their community. On the third Sunday of each month, the Hattiesburg American will recognize one of these young professionals as part of our Top 12 Under 40.