09/09/2020 Tahon’s story


Tahon Ross’s first order of business after being named principal of Stacy Middle School in Milford, MA in July 2019, was to learn the names of each student and staff member—and how to spell them correctly.

“I need to get to know everybody’s name, for students and staff alike, and know what their role is and what beautiful gifts they bring to the school,” Ross said at the time.

The power of paying attention to detail is something Ross first learned about as a child in a HopeWell foster home.

“The quality of intensive foster care cleared a lot of hurdles for me,” Ross told attendees at our When I Think of Home Gala last October. “It provided me with opportunities, supports and privileges that children in DCF care would not normally get.”

Having a weekly allowance, his own room, and money for haircuts—things many teens take for granted, but which few teens in foster care experience—made a tremendous difference in his life. A HopeWell social worker also found a therapist for Ross who was such a good fit that Ross saw the therapist weekly for three years.

“This helped me with problem solving and life skills,” said Ross.

Before being named principal of the Stacy Middle School, Ross, who grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, served as an assistant principal at public schools in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. Before that, he was the Dean of School Culture for D.C. public schools. In those positions, Ross honed his teaching and curriculum-building skills. He also developed a student-centric perspective and learned how to work with all members of a community to build positive school cultures.

Ross’s professional success belies a difficult upbringing and family life that resulted in his eventual placement in foster care. When he was finally housed with a HopeWell foster family, he found the structure and support he needed to thrive. That placement also put him on a path to success. He earned both his undergraduate degree in English Literature and master’s in Education Administration from UMass Amherst. There, he gained the knowledge of how to translate his desire to support youth in education into a career.

“Now, I am a principal at a middle school where I have a greater impact educating students and shaping their character,” Ross said at our Gala. “This is my way to pay it forward. Hopewell provides the best that foster care can be.”

Interested in following Ross’ lead in nurturing and shaping young people for successful futures?

Consider becoming a HopeWell foster parent.

If you’re able to provide a safe, stable home environment (whether you rent or own your home), if you’re a good communicator and problem solver; and if you understand that every child is unique and comes with their own abilities, interests and background, you have what it takes to be a foster parent.

You can be married or single. You can live in a city, a suburb, or a small town. You can already have kids, or not. Foster families, like any other families, don’t all look alike. The one thing HopeWell foster parents do share is the desire to provide care and stability to children in need of a safe and loving home.

Want to learn more? Please contact us here.

Not interested in fostering, but still want to help a child overcome a challenging past and have a brighter future? Make a donation to support our work.

We all have a role to play!