Thankful for Staff: Michelle Stone


My name is Michelle Stone. I am a parent educator and the athletic director. I have lived in Fremont since I was seven. My elementary school was Walters, and I graduated from John F. Kennedy High School. There was a lot of open space for living in Fremont back then. We could ride our bikes everywhere, all around Fremont. There was also more farming land, cauliflowers, apricot orchards, walnut orchards, all that kind of stuff. But now, there are many, many, many more roads. Before, Stevenson Boulevard was only a dirt road. The lake at Central Park wasn’t even built yet. I don’t know if people know that, but it was a great time to grow up in Fremont.

I did sports at Kennedy. So that helped me get involved in the school, which gave me the love of being in sports, leading me to become an athletic director. Being on those teams did help shape my character by having me learn to be committed to something along with being dedicated and hard-working. Back then, coaches and teachers were highly respected. 

My family has been here at Irvington since 1967. So I got to see Irvington grow. My dad, Charles Costello, was a counselor for 30 years here. That’s how I got to love Irvington. I went to Kennedy because that’s where we lived in that area. But back then all the schools were all neighborhood friends, which made it a lot of fun. Irvington and Kennedy were all neighborhood friends, but there was more competition than there is now. On the court, we were enemies, but off-court, we were all friends. 

My greatest inspiration would be my coach, Diane Coelho. At that time, Title Nine—a group supporting women’s rights and equality—was being brought up to the spotlight. I watched my coach try very hard to make sure that the same happened over there for us, and I saw a lot of people pull back and dislike her because of that. Her drive for what she believed taught me a lot. My dad, as a counselor here, helped a lot of students, but back then counselors were a little different than they are now, job-wise. I saw the dedication that he put into the school and how much he loved the students and the staff. I especially would love seeing the staff since they would have Christmas parties and dinners together. I really miss that here now. Everybody’s so busy. 

Most of the staff back then also lived in the city, so you got to see them at the grocery stores and at church. Now, it’s really hard for the staff because a lot of them can’t afford houses in Fremont. So they live in Livermore, or out in the valley. So it’s very hard for them to stay after school and spend more time. 

I don’t know if I would really change anything. I married my high school sweetheart. We got married young. We’ve been married almost 43 years. And our first son is 40 years old. I didn’t have to get married. But I was happy. I had three sons by the time I was 25 and then I got to raise them. It’s hard times when you’re working and trying to put food on the table and just doing all kinds of things. So I’m glad I had my kids when I was younger. And now my boys are all grown up. My husband and I had twin boys; one is 37 and my oldest is 40. We have seven grandkids. And now that I don’t have any kids at home, I call Irvington students my kids, so I treat them like I would my own kids. 

I have always wanted to be a counselor or a teacher, but then I got married, and I didn’t finish school. I went to Ohlone for two years, didn’t finish college, and started raising my kids. And then I became a parent educator. I loved that position; being a teacher demands a lot more work from you. The kids seem to open up a little differently to me than a teacher, which I love. I never thought that I could become an athletic director because I didn’t have a teaching credential. So 12 years ago, the principal that was here, Pete Murchison, opened the job position and he knew I loved sports since my boys all played sports here at Irvington. So he asked if I wanted to take on this position. It’s not a very high-paying job. Being a parent educator is my non-paying job while being an athletic director is a paid job. That’s my passion job. In the daytime, I act as a parent educator, and then after three o’clock, I go to work with athletics. It is a full-time job, but our district doesn’t treat it that way. People think we make lots of money being an athletic director. I probably make $6,000 a year, and I probably work just as an athletic director probably 30 plus hours a week. So if you do the math, I probably make a negative two cents an hour. But again, it’s my passion. 

We all have to remember that the world is evolving. Irvington is evolving. We have different kids than we had back in 10 years ago, so we all have to be patient for the change to happen. I want to, and I hope, even with all of the changes, we won’t lose our history because we lose a lot of traditions throughout the years. That’s one thing I’m hoping that I can keep reminding people about—we need to keep those traditions and our history because it’s important. That’s what Irvington is.