Stone County prides itself on maintaining a healthy, student-focused education system where students from all walks of life can be enriched, inspired, and encouraged every day to lead successful and purposeful lives. In addition to our A-rated public school system, Stone County is centrally located to several higher and technical education providers, allowing everyone access to the right tools for broaden their opportunities.
Stone County School District (K-12)
To ignite within every student a passion for learning, to inspire the pursuit of excellence, and to instill the desire to lead a productive, purposeful life: this is the Stone County school system’s stated mission, and fulfilling that mission has necessitated a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning, with an emphasis on teacher quality, low student/teacher ratios (15/1), and a strategic mix of academics and extracurricular activities. In the home of the legendary Baseball Hall of Famer Dizzy Dean, athletics naturally take a place of pride on the field, court, and course—baseball, football, basketball, soccer, softball and golf—but the arts are also given emphasis. State marching band champs, Stone County High School bands have wowed the crowds at both the Macy’s Day and Washington, D.C. inaugural parades. SCSD also offers a variety of career-technical programs in healthcare, business, technology, culinary arts, and welding to prepare students for successful and sustaining careers later in life.

Once upon a time, one of the nation’s most famous children’s authors (a woman who was also an internationally respected philanthropist) lived in Stone County on 80 acres that she and her sister named Friendship Farm. Author and philanthropist Emilie Blackmore Stapp and her sister Marie have faded into history, but their legacy lives on in the area’s love of stories—oral, visual and written—and in the Stone County Library, first opened in 1925 with the more than 4,000 books donated by the Stapp sisters.

Today, the children of Stone County enjoy bright futures because of the 21st century preparation of progressive schools, where accountability and performance are no fairy tales; instead, excellence is on display every day and every year, as Stone County’s four public schools (two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school) have earned either successful or exemplary recognitions in performance classifications, while high school graduation rates and ACT scores have exceeded the state average. Stone County School District maintains an “A” rating from the MS Department of Education, and is amongst the top scorers overall in Science, Reading, and Mathematics.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Like its home of Stone County, MGCCC in Perkinston offers an ideal balance of options—top-flight career and technical training for immediate and rewarding employment or excellent academics for a two-year degree that can be transferred to a four-year college. The only community college in the tri-state area to be named to the nation’s list of Top 100 Associate Degree Producers, MGCCC is the nation’s first community college to host a sitting president as graduation speaker (George W. Bush in 2004). Apollo 13 astronaut and engineer Fred Haise is an MGCCC alumnus, and today the college helps students achieve liftoff with a wide range of technical, academic and healthcare programs. While MGCCC is the area’s workforce training partner, providing customized training for industry needs, honing employees’ skills to spec, MGCCC’s Lifelong Learning Institute helps residents 50+ stay sharp and fit for life.
University of Southern Mississippi
Less than 40 miles away, USM is a public Carnegie R1 research institution and one of the nation’s leading research universities, offering more than 189 programs leading to baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctorate degrees. USM’s academic programs are considered some of the nation’s best across varied fields: USM is particularly strong in the sciences, considered the premiere research institute of the Gulf South, with the School of Polymer Science ranked in the nation’s top 10 by U.S. News and World Report. USM is also one of only 34 universities in the nation to be accredited in all four areas of the arts; USM’s Center for Writers has been lauded as a top creative writing program by the New York Times Book Review. The School of Communications has earned similar plaudits from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. The University’s Division I-A athletic programs are also well-supported, and Golden Eagle games well attended, even as the school sponsors more than 300 cultural events annually. With two campus locations convenient to Stone County, USM is a great option for students seeking to start or advance their careers in a number of fields.
William Carey University
This private Christian liberal arts university offers baccalaureate, masters, and graduate degrees in several general areas, including business, education, music, natural and behavioral sciences, nursing and religion. William Carey University also boasts one of Mississippi’s two medical schools and Mississippi’s only school of osteopathic medicine. Carey offers rich online and hybrid programs in addition to in-person learning, and is ranked as Mississippi’s best value university due to its lower-than-average tuition rates and top-rated programs. With two campuses centrally located to Stone County, William Carey provides area residents ample opportunities to learn and grow in a wholesome environment rich in values.