Many would dread the idea of going back to middle school, but that’s exactly what happened at Stone Middle School in Fairfax County, where four former students are now on staff at the Virginia school.
Principal Meredith Norris has been working in Fairfax County Public Schools for 18 years, and this is her first year as a principal. Making things extra challenging — she’s taking on the job during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I don’t think anything could have prepared us for what we have been through the last 18 months,” Norris said. “This has been quite, quite a unique journey.”
Despite that, she said Stone feels like a home away from home.
“For staff and students alike, it’s really creating that family-like atmosphere,” Norris said.
Brooke Majors is in her second year of teaching special education English.
“Going virtual and then transitioning back in person, that was definitely an experience. But I kind of feel like Superwoman at this point because we just took the punches and we rolled with it. We had a great time for what we could make of it,” Majors said.
Majors said relationships were key while in school, so she’s focused on getting to know her students.
“It didn’t matter what subject it was, if I had a good relationship, it definitely helped me,” Majors said.
Lamar Hardy’s job is security specialist, but the title doesn’t give justice to all of the things that he does.
“I’m pretty much like a Swiss Army knife,” he said.
In addition to working with the school’s resource officer and helping with student discipline, Hardy plays music outside as students arrive in the morning.
“You might hear your favorite song, or you can move a little bit. I’m always out there trying to make everyone laugh and have a good time, so I’m dancing and whatnot,” he said.
He also loves lunch duty, where he can sit down at lunch tables and talk with kids who might not normally open up to adults.
Yvonne Wood is an office assistant at Stone.
“Having been a student myself, there’s just something about it here. Everyone seems to really care about each other. I can’t even count how many times during the day someone comes in the office and they say ‘How are you? How’s your day going?'” Wood said.
Another member of Wood’s family has a connection to Stone. Her 13-year-old daughter Summer is an eighth grader there.