Four Stone Middle School Staff Members Return to Their Roots at School that Shaped Them
Coming ‘full circle’ is the best way to describe the journeys of four Stone Middle School staff members. One is the principal, one is a teacher, one is a security specialist, and one is an office assistant. While their jobs may be different, they have one special thing tying them together: they all attended Stone as students. Each one took a different path back to the middle school, but they all returned because of the close-knit “family” feeling at Stone.
First-year principal, Meredith Norris, has been an educator at FCPS for more than 16 years, and was a student in Fairfax County from childhood through graduation. She went to Cub Run Elementary and London Towne Elementary before attending Stone. Norris graduated from Chantilly High School, and went on to teach there after graduating college. Now that she’s returned to Stone, she’s focused on building relationships, and bridging the gap that can exist between students and administrators.
“It allows you to have a different connection with students,” Norris said. “Students are often surprised. They’re like ‘Oh! You were in middle school once too.’ It helps when you can say ‘I walked these halls too.’”
Seventh grade teacher Brooke Majors also walked those halls as a middle schooler. She knew she wanted to have a career in education from a young age. Majors started working at Stone’s after-school program while she was in high school at Westfield, mentoring younger girls and coaching the dance team. After college, she returned to Stone to work in Safety and Security, before deciding to work in special education.
“It feels like family here,” Majors said. “I know it sounds cliché, but if you need a shoulder to cry on… if you need some advice... there’s always someone here.”
Lamar Hardy has similar feelings about his former middle school. He went to play college football in Massachusetts before returning to Fairfax County to work in Safety and Security. Since he’s not tied to one classroom, he’s able to connect with more students as they walk through the halls. He says he wanted to come back to Stone because he knows 7th and 8th grade are pivotal years, and he hopes he can help students find success.
“I wanted to be part of that time between elementary and high school,” Hardy said. “It’s that molding ground with the kids. I feel like this is the perfect spot to help them. If they’re going the wrong way, steer them back toward the right way. And help them build their self esteem. That's a huge thing, just building confidence.”
For office assistant Yvonne Wood, ‘full circle’ has even more meaning. Not only is she working at the middle school where she attended, but her daughter is now a student at Stone. Since graduating from Westfield High School, Wood has lived all over due to her husband’s Army career, most recently living in Hawaii. But she says she’s happy to be back at FCPS, and excited her children will get to attend the same schools she went to.
“I loved my education and the community that I grew up with.” Wood said. “It’s a really supportive community. Everyone actually cares. It’s a great place to be.”
All four Stone employees say their goal is to help students feel welcome at Stone, the same way they were welcomed years ago.
“I always want kids to feel some kind of joy,” Principal Norris said. “Whether it's academics, whether it's an after-school activity with friends. Just so they feel like they not only have joy with their peers, but that they also have an adult they can connect to.”
While all four staff members had different paths back to the school, their unique experiences along the way help them do just that: connect to students in a meaningful way, and help students feel more comfortable navigating the world of middle school.