CSCC Makes History With Dr. Ty Stone

CSCC Makes History With Dr. Ty Stone

Holly Appleton
Thursday, August 18, 2022 12:00 AM

The following article was written by Anna Shand and published  in the Cleveland Daily Banner on Friday, August 12, 2022:

Cleveland State Community College made history with the appointment of Ty Stone — the college’s first Black female president. 
“I'm just so fortunate and blessed to be here,” Stone said. “Dr. [former President Bill] Seymour had been here 8½ years, and he poured his heart and soul into this place. I have some big shoes to fill.”
Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings recommended Stone for appointment and said Stone is the "ideal choice to lead Cleveland State."
"She hit the ground running this summer, doing exactly what a new president should do — meeting with community leaders across the area, as well as campus groups, listening to their hopes and ambitions for how Cleveland State can continue to meet the education needs and be the catalyst for the area’s growth and prosperity," Tydings said in a statement to the Banner. "That and her breadth of life experiences — from her service in the U.S. Air Force to her academic accomplishments and her leadership roles at colleges in different parts of the country — make her a great leader. I know she’s looking forward to the start of the school year and the arrival of her students." 
Stone said there were several things that originally attracted her to the institution, some being the student-based programs. 
“Cleveland State is an amazing organization. … Of course, there are some things that attracted me to the school, like the work that they're doing with guided pathways and the work that they're doing in career and technical education,” Stone said. “But I still need to make sure that I'm taking the time necessary to learn about it and to get the different nuances here before I start trying to pull the reins and run with it.” 
As she prepares for her first semester as president, Stone is focusing on listening, learning and observing. 
“I’ve decided that I'm going to slow down a little bit, and I'm going to take this entire semester to listen, learn and observe and talk to people in the college and outside of the college,” Stone said in a sit-down interview with the Banner. “Our employers, our students, our families … just to see what it is we can do, and maybe learn some ways that we can improve what we're doing, or do them very differently.”
Stone is entering her first year as president with three goals. First, to listen and learn; second, to prepare for reaccreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC); and finally, to continue building a healthy environment for students. 
“My first top priority is to listen and learn. That is really going to set the stage for what I do moving forward. … I need to be able to hear from everybody — from as many people as I can. So that the vision that we set is one that we collectively agree to,” Stone said. “We are preparing for our reaccreditation through SACSCOC. So that's something that I'm focusing on. The last one is making sure that we have a healthy environment here for our students and our staff. This is a place where people want to live and learn and share together.”
Stone said she “stumbled” into the world of education. She wanted to become a better public speaker, she said, and decided to teach. 
“I wanted to improve my public speaking skills. So I thought, ‘what better way to do that than to force myself to get in front of students, young people — unforgiving young people — and have to speak to them every day?’ So I started teaching, and I just loved it. I've been in it ever since,” she said. 
Stone said education is an extremely difficult job, but that’s part of the reason she is so committed to it. 
“I think the commitment to the success of students is something,” Stone said, discussing some of her leadership values. “Knowing for sure that the work that we do really matters to people. And sometimes, taking the extra effort has such long-term impacts on people's lives and the trajectory of their lives. You think about a person who worked with you, and convinced you that you wouldn't fail, and what that's done for you for the remainder of your life — that's how serious the work we do here is, and that's why I'm so committed.” 
Stone is the former president of Jefferson Community College in Watertown, New York, and was one of four finalists for the Cleveland State presidency as selected by an 18-member search committee composed of board members and representatives of the campus community. Stone succeeded Seymour, who retired this summer after leading Cleveland State for 8½ years and more than 43 years in higher education administration.
“I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Dr. Stone since her selection,” Seymour said. “I am pleased and confident that she will take Cleveland State to higher levels of achievement, both for our students and the communities we serve.”
Stone earned a Doctor of Philosophy in organization and management at Capella University, a Master of Business Administration with a concentration in organizational strategy at Trinity University and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Washington Adventist University. She is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and has been named twice to the City & State New York Higher Education Power 100 list of higher education leaders, public officials and philanthropists.
Cleveland State classes resume Aug. 22.
“I can't wait for the students to get here. I love to see the students walking around. It just brings a different type of energy to our campus, and I can't wait for that,” Stone said. 

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