Tiffany Hall was nominated by a family member, Payton Hall.
Ms. Hall is the principal of Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, a 100-year-old school in a rural town where sixty-five percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch, and 52% are POC. Leavelle McCampbell has a long history as a community mill school from beginning as a K-12 school, a high school, and finally a middle school with alumni still very tied to LMMS. The LMMS School Improvement Council (SIC) has alumni representation to help stay true to the "heart and soul" of LMMS.
In Winter 2021, SIC gathered 600 responses from students, parents/guardians, staff, and community members to draft a new mission, vision, and beliefs for the faculty to finalize. They plan all activities from impact projects like food drives, career videos, habit videos, monthly cultural and health awareness, and parent involvement activities. Ms. Hall is at the heart of this.
The school's culture lives and teaches every student the seven habits. Ms. Hall and her team lead through innovative, personalized learning. They leave a legacy by helping students to find their voice through community service, YouScience career explorations, and genius hour. Advisory teachers hold individual student conferences so every student has an adult advocate. Advisory classes are organized into six houses/action teams through Ron Clark Academy houses: Nukumori (SEL), Onraka (New & Ongoing Learning), Protos (Empowering Instruction), Isbindi (Direct Lessons), Amistad (Family & Community Engagement), and Reveur (Leadership Environment).
Through a grant created by Ms. Hall, all students received house shirts and learned their traditions which brought special cheer to cultivate a sense of belonging in middle school. She also started a mentorship program with 50 eighth-grade WEB (Where Everybody Belongs) leaders who mentor all sixth graders and lead them in small group orientation activities as a welcome. They conduct follow-up lessons (i.e., "How to ask questions and deal with gossip") and social events with the sixth-graders.
She brought community events to welcome others, including Trunk-or-Treat with over 1,000 children, Mistletoe Market with 40+ craft vendors, and the Legacy Ball, where her school honored Legacies who graduated from LMMS. She fills others' bank accounts through the Tireless Teacher Monthly Award, Family, Student, and Teacher Positive Office Referrals, Cheers to Peers, RCA House Leader Board, and Incredible Leaders monthly recognitions. Through Principal and Popcorn, parents share the school's "glow" in communication, which can be attributed to Ms. Hall's weekly S'more newsletter, which she spends hours on. Opportunities are available to learn about the school and provide input and feedback through SIC, Popcorn and Principal, Principal Picnics, Pastors and Pastries, 3 E (Enrollment, Enlistment, Employment) Committee, Houses, MLL Focus Group, USCA Mentors, PTO, etc.
LMMS's 2019 SIC determined becoming a Leader in Me school was a priority, and a letter of support with signatures from school/organizational groups was presented along with the "why" to the superintendent. The district made a $138,000 commitment for the first few years. LMMS systematically began building a school of leaders due to Ms. Hall's guidance. Within three years, the school grew significantly by accomplishing small achievable goals.
In the first year, they implemented 40 direct lessons on the seven habits of highly effective people and teacher action teams to lead learning and model the habits. In the second year, they implemented leadership portfolios for all students, cultural school-wide reads, and genius hour. Finally, they increased student empowerment in the third year with student action teams they call houses. LMMS students weekly track their grades, conference with teachers, advocate for themselves, and set goals. They also have SSR+, where they read and write daily during advisory. In advisory, 96% of students met their Wildly Important Goal for the first six weeks.
Many students need help accessing transportation, food, or basic hygiene necessities. Under Ms. Hall's leadership, administration and the guidance team mentor the MLL students and provide resources through a care closet and food backpacks. They offer Saturday school for additional tutoring.
Because of this success, LMMS received $598,000 for a free afterschool program to offer ELA, math, and enrichment four days a week with a grant Ms. Hall wrote. They have USC-Aiken mentors meet twice weekly with the most at-risk students. WIN (Whatever I Need) classes support struggling students who do not qualify for special education.
Within four years, the school has been named a Lighthouse Leader in Me School, National Forum School to Watch, SCASCD Whole Child Award Winner, and SREB Pacesetter. Ms. Hall has changed her community.