An Ordinary Woman Who Became Extraordinary

On August 19, 2013, Antoinette Tuff was a school bookkeeper, severely depressed that her husband of 33 years had recently left and faced the daunting challenges of raising a son with multiple disabilities as a single Mom. Never did she think that she would become a hero saving more than 1,000 lives, a best-selling author, an international celebrity or a guest of Michelle Obama’s at the State of the Union Address.

The next day, her life changed forever. Antoinette, an accidental hostage negotiator, used her experiences with challenging life issues to successfully convince an armed gunman who entered the Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy to give her his AK-47. This is the only school active shooter situation in the US that ended without death or injury to school students, faculty, parents or shooter himself. Experienced hostage negotiators, law enforcement and community leaders praised her intuitive, yet textbook, hostage negotiations on August 20, 2013.

Antoinette receiving a WellsFargo Grant for her nonproift organization.


As a speaker, Antoinette shares how her everyday crisis management techniques with Tuff Tactics apply to a wide variety situations, both large and small. Audience members will learn how stressful incidents in their everyday life can be leveraged as an asset when dealing with difficult interpersonal relationships, heated customer interactions or if they find a gun pointed in their direction. Her crisis management presentation with Conversation in the Crosshairs is designed to complement structured crisis situation and relationship training utilized by security, human resource and legal teams.

Tuff "did an unbelievable job." He says he was most impressed with how she kept the situation under control from the very beginning and how well she listened to Hill, especially considering that she doesn’t have any formal training in hostage negotiations.

Mike Brooks Former Law Enforcement & Public Safety Analyst on HLN, CNN. 26 years, Washington DC Police last 6 years with the FBI's JTTF. Former Asist Fire Chief in Fairfax. Co., VA

Antoinette has presented her philosophy, that grief and pain can be an asset rather than a liability, to thousands of across the United States. Audiences quickly relate to her vulnerability, determination and practical strategies in dealing with mundane issues or crisis situations. "That's what quick-thinking people who survive life-threatening situations often do: They practice calmness before their crisis."

Laurence Gonzales  author of the best-selling book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why




Antoinette Tuff Days in Georgia and Texas

  • September 30

    The City of Savannah, Georgia (Resolution)

  • August 27

    DeKalb County – Atlanta, Georgia

  • August 25

    Congressional District – Atlanta, Georgia

  • April 30

    Missouri City, Texas