We are happy to introduce Dr. Tron Young as our new Hoyleton Board Chair. Dr. Young has been a Hoyleton Board member since 2019 but is now stepping into the Chairperson role replacing Ann Ferguson-Stephens, who has completed her term.
Dr. Young brings 19 years of experience and knowledge as a middle school teacher and principal to our organization. He also brings with him a commitment and passion to help, support and empower youth and families in his community. His goals as an educator are in complete alignment with Hoyleton’s mission. When asked what he hopes to accomplish in his role as Board Chair he responded, “to help Hoyleton continue to grow as a leading provider of restorative care. I plan to ask questions that determine not where we are but where we want to go.”
Be the thermostat, not the thermometer, is Dr. Young’s mantra. He references this in speaking engagements with fellow educators, parents, students and in his podcast that is titled with this mantra. This analogy comes from one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s speeches where he argues that we must change society rather than be changed by it. Dr. Young is passionate about being the change. “I try to show my students each day how to create an environment that can be most successful for them. When you are the thermostat you are in control of what you hope to achieve.” Young said.
Dr. Young also makes sure his middle school students know it is OK to make mistakes, get frustrated or have a bad day. “I tell them when you are in my school or my principal’s office you can be a kid. I let them be sad, happy silly or mad. This type of interaction gives me the opportunity to connect with them on their terms,” he said. Dr. Young’s approach with his students has many similarities to the Cornell University CARE practice model that we follow at Hoyleton. CARE provides a framework for keeping relationships at the center and guides everything we do and this intention resonates with Young.
Dr. Young grew up in Centralia so has known about Hoyleton since he was a kid. “I grew up with friends and family who worked there, many who are still there today,” Young said. It wasn’t until he joined our Board in 2019 that he realized the full scope of our services. “Hoyleton is a true wraparound agency, with services and resources to support the whole family,” Young said. “I believe this type of care is what is needed to make a real difference.”
“To make a difference, you have to do things that others may not think to do, to get the results that other are not able to get,” said Dr. Young. In 2020 he was named Middle School Principal of the Year by the Illinois Principal Association. “They announced the award at a big assembly at my school, Joseph Arthur Middle School in O’Fallon and then, we shut down for COVID-19!” Young said. The 2020 schoolyear was quite a challenge for teachers across the globe, but Dr. Young preserved and in 2021 he was recognized again as the National Association of Secondary School Principals Distinguished Principal of the Year. Other accolades include the Pacesetter Award through Kaskaskia College, Illinois Education Association Bob Haisman Teacher of the Year, 100 Black Men United Educator of the Year and Regional Middle School Principal of the Year Awards.
Dr Young said this type of recognition opened doors and allowed him to be part of more high-level conversations about the future of education. He identifies the biggest challenge in education as, “adults and social media.” We have to make parents and other educators understand that what worked previously will not work today. “Our kids are growing up surrounded by social media and advanced technology. They had to continue to learn during a pandemic. The world is very different for them. Teachers are no longer the keeper of knowledge, students can find knowledge anywhere, these days, it is our job to show them what they can do with it.
We are confident that Dr. Young’s dedication, passion, and rich experience will immensely contribute to our mission. As an organization, we are inspired by his mantra to Be the thermostat, not the thermometer and his drive to help shape the environment around us rather than just react to it.
Hoyleton's work has always been centered on helping and empowering those who are in need and Dr. Young is well-equipped to take the lead in this journey. He carries the right blend of empathy and authority, along with an evident love for education and his community, all of which are integral in successfully spearheading our board and overall organization.
We welcome Dr. Young as the new Hoyleton Board Chair and look forward to all that he will bring to the table.