TIFTON — Chad Stone plans to hit the ground running when he takes over as principal of Tift County High School in June.
“I want to make Tift County High School the best high school in the country,” he said. “That’s our goal right off the bat.”
He already has a game plan in place, which includes listening to the teachers, staff and students.
“I want to be able to talk to (them) about what is working,” he said. “What do they think is working and incorporate that into what it means to be a Blue Devil. Change is a hard thing. You have to take it easy.”
Stone has become well-known at Eighth Street Middle School, where he was principal, for his collection of helmets and his energetic social media posts.
He said that the high school will evolve under his leadership and the high school will look a little bit different, but that he wants to continue the trend of improvement that is already in place.
“I’m going to be high energy,” he said. “I’m going to be all over the place. We’re going to take some of the ideas that we had at Eighth Street of building the culture there and incorporate that at a high school level.”
Stone said he applied for the Tift County High School principal job because TCHS is “the best high school in the world.”
“You’ve got great facilities,” he said. “You’ve got great teachers, great students, a great community. It’s a seven-A school. In our community it’s the only public high school in a seven A district.”
Stone said that he wants to keep building on the traditions in place at TCHS already.
“I want to keep building on some of the stuff that Mrs. Seigler has put in place,” he said. “She’s been there for eight years and done a phenomenal job. We just want to take it to the level, want to put the Chad Stone spin on it.”
Some of that “spin” includes something Stone has been well known for as principal of Eighth Street Middle School: building relationships with students.
“We’ve got to make sure that they understand that that’s the core of what we do, not only with our kids but build relationships with our kids, our parents, our teachers,” he said. “I call it the triangle. We all got to be on that together.”
He said that it’s important to him that students enjoy high school.
“I can look back on my high school experience and I enjoyed high school,” he said. “I want them to enjoy high school. I want to be able to have fun with them but I also want them to understand that I’m going to love them enough to correct them.”
Stone said it is also his wish to see former students come back to the community and be successful.
Having been the principal of one of the two public middle schools in the district, Stone said that many of the students at the high school are former students of his.
“They understand my craziness, my energy” he said. “They’ve grown and it’s good to see them. High school is so important. You get to see them make that next step into the real world and see them grow a little bit more. I’m super excited about it.”