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New Douglas assistant principal also begins term as teachers' group president
by Tom Spigolon
September 03, 2013 03:54 PM | 3223 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left, teacher Gillian Phillips and Factory Shoals Middle assistant principal Emily Felton.
From left, teacher Gillian Phillips and Factory Shoals Middle assistant principal Emily Felton.
Douglas County educator Emily Felton experienced two life-changing events at once last month.

She began a yearlong term as president of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators while beginning her first job in administration as an assistant principal at Factory Shoals Middle School.

However, she said both jobs are “very doable” both because of a full-time support staff and her ability to schedule attendance at the Association’s events far in advance.

“The staff keeps me abreast of things,” she said.

Felton has served on the board of the 84,000-member association for three years, and was president-elect last school year. When the Factory Shoals Middle principal retired in July and one of the school’s two assistant principals was promoted, Felton applied for the vacant position and was hired.

Like the rest of the board, the association president’s position is voluntary and requires presiding over a few events annually, as well as some lobbying during the annual Georgia General Assembly session and writing a monthly column for the group’s Page One magazine. Executive director Allene Magill, who has worked with 10 association presidents, said Felton is a “caring person” who understands the role of educators in a school.

“She’s able to articulate her position very well,” Magill said. “She will be a real asset.”

This month is relatively busy for Felton as she will meet with the group’s legislative task force Sept. 13 before presiding over the annual fundraiser A PAGE Turning Event, Sept. 16 at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta.

The daughter of an Air Force sergeant, Felton, 46, grew up in California and Colorado before earning her undergraduate degree at the University of Colorado.

She then moved to Georgia for the remainder of her academic career, earning a master’s degree from Fort Valley State University, specialist in administration from Columbus State and doctorate from Georgia Southern.

She worked in the insurance field before beginning her career in education as a guidance counselor in Jones County. She worked the past six years as a counselor at Factory Shoals before her promotion.

She said the association’s members would decide its stance on such issues as the controversial Common Core curriculum, which has been praised for providing a consistent message in some subject areas for students nationwide but criticized as an intrusive federal program imposing a “one size fits all” approach to education.

However, Felton said she plans to speak out about such issues she personally believes in, including elimination of furlough days for teachers.

“How do we make it so easy to take from educators?” she asked.

Austerity appears to be the rule for many governmental entities in recent years. Felton said she’s not sure if she will be able to accomplish her goal during her term but she plans to use whatever influence she has to sway decision-makers on the subject.

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