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Meet Rachel Stone

Awakening to Urgent Realities: A Summer Camp Revelation

During my sophomore year of college, a pivotal moment occurred while working at a summer camp teaching fifth and sixth graders. The tragic events unfolding in the summer camp neighborhood, including an incident where someone fired a weapon and took another individual's life just across the street from the summer camp, brought to light the harsh realities faced by many of my students. It was at that moment I realized the urgent need to address not only academic but also social and emotional challenges impacting their lives. From students sacrificing their own meals for their younger, first and second grade siblings, to navigating the complexities of special education, I recognized the profound disparities present within our educational system. Driven by a desire to make a broader impact, I transitioned to law school to study child, family, and education law.

Advocacy in Action: Championing Children's Rights

During my time at Emory University's Barton Child Law and Policy Center (under former Governor Nathan Deal's administration), I focused on safeguarding the rights of vulnerable children and students. Through our advocacy efforts, I witnessed firsthand the significant impact of research and collaboration in effecting positive change. Our work directly resulted in finding homes for thousands of Georgia's foster children. Additionally, we played a crucial role in securing federal funding resources for Georgia's survivors of child sex trafficking.

Bridging the Gap: A Teacher's Voice in Education Decision Making

As I transitioned to my role at the Georgia Department of Education (under Georgia Governor Brian Kemp's administration), my commitment to education advocacy remained steadfast. Notably, during the 2018 Georgia General Assembly, my team successfully advocated for an additional $80 million allocation to underfunded public schools. We also served on a public school task force during Governor Brian Kemp's administration. These experiences further solidified my dedication to ensuring equitable access to education for all students. Lastly, I confronted the gap between policymakers and the realities of the classroom. At the time, with only --nearly-- three percent of Georgia lawmakers possessing classroom teaching experience, I recognized the urgent need for educators' voices in shaping educational policies.

Classroom Commitment: Teaching, Coaching, and Leading

With this enhanced perspective, I returned to the classroom as a full-time teacher in the Dacula Cluster at the GCPS (Gwinnett County Public School) system. There, I found fulfillment in teaching literacy as well as law courses, while serving as Mock Trial coach and SkillsUSA Advisor. I was also actively involved in a literacy task force as well as equity teams within the Dacula cluster. My commitment to education was further strengthened through the education leadership training I received as a graduate student at the University of Georgia's Department of Lifelong, Education, Administration, and Policy.

Conversations with Leaders: Education is the Key to Progress

From teaching in PreK-12 classrooms to assuming the role of State and Local Government Affairs Director at one of the world's largest associations (championing first and second generation immigrant entrepreneurs), my journey is one of relentless commitment to winning victories for humanity (Horace Mann, Father of Education). Over the past year, I traveled across the United States (U.S.), engaging in discussions with local leaders and sharing spaces with prominent leaders who underscore the importance of student success, teacher empowerment, opportunities for all, nurturing school environments, and equity in education, as well as the critical role of local leaders, who are at the forefront of impacting change and driving progress in our communities. What has also become abundantly clear is this: the solution to our pressing challenges (e.g., the pervasive labor shortage or the homelessness, opioid, and mental health crises), lies in one simple yet powerful principle—unwavering investment in education.

Today, as a candidate for the Gwinnett County Board of Education, I envision a future where GCPS shines as a beacon of educational excellence, where every student thrives and every teacher is empowered and supported, paving the way to academic achievement for all, one STONE at a time.

Committee to Elect Rachel Stone
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