A matter of principal
by Haisten Willis and Sarah Westwood
May 31, 2014 04:00 AM | 8142 views | 2 2 comments | 50 50 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County schools recently announced three administrative changes at the principal level. From left, Terry Floyd will take over as principal at Riverside Intermediate School; Althea Singletary will become the new principal at Varner Elementary in Powder Springs; and Pamela Adeli will move from Varner to Acworth Intermediate School. <br> Staff/Jeff Stanton
Cobb County schools recently announced three administrative changes at the principal level. From left, Terry Floyd will take over as principal at Riverside Intermediate School; Althea Singletary will become the new principal at Varner Elementary in Powder Springs; and Pamela Adeli will move from Varner to Acworth Intermediate School.
Staff/Jeff Stanton
MARIETTA — Three longtime Cobb schools employees are excited about taking over different schools this summer as principals.

Pamela Adeli, Teresa Floyd and Althea Singletary are all moving to new positions for the 2014-15 school year. Adeli moves from principal of Varner Elementary to principal of Acworth Intermediate. Floyd moves to principal of Riverside Intermediate from a central office position called director of intervention and support. Singletary moves from principal of Riverside Intermediate to principal at Varner Elementary.

All three said they’re eager to get started on the new jobs and they can’t wait to meet the community at their new schools. Adeli and Singletary assume their roles July 1, while Floyd starts at Riverside July 16.

Adeli heads to Acworth

Adeli spent the last five years at Varner Elementary in Powder Springs and enjoyed her time there.

“I love touching the lives of the children, getting to know the parents and being that person that helps figure out where we need to go as a school,” Adeli said. “It just seems wherever you are, getting that collaborative information of what the hopes and dreams of parents are for the children, the hopes and dreams of teachers for the community and putting all those pieces together to map out what next step needs to be made.”

This is her fifth year as a principal and her ninth as an administrator. She worked in Baton Rouge, La., and Montgomery, Ala., before coming to Cobb County. In Cobb, she has worked at Hayes Elementary, Kincaid Elementary and Pitner Elementary, in addition to Varner.

Acworth Intermediate serves grades two through five and is fed by McCall Primary, which has kindergarten and first grade.

She said the children are the best part of being a principal.

“The children that we serve are what makes you come back every day with a song in your heart,” she said. “Just talking with the children, you learn so much. The best thing about it is getting to know the children, getting them goal-oriented, even in the younger grades.”

Adeli’s first-grade teacher inspired her to enter the education field. Growing up in Hartwell, Carolyn McCollum was her favorite teacher. When Adeli reached 12th grade, McCollum was still teaching first grade and the two worked together.

“She always stood out in my mind throughout the years,” Adeli said. “When I was in the 12th grade, we had a work study program and they allowed me to go work with her. For about an hour every day, I was able to leave school and watch her in the classroom.”

“It was just one of those experiences where I got to see all the different things that she was doing and knew that’s what I wanted to do.”

Floyd goes back to school

Floyd, a 25-year veteran of the Cobb County school system, will take the helm of Riverside Intermediate in Mableton on June 16.

Her appointment will move Floyd from the district office, where she serves as the Director for Intervention and Support, Curriculum, and Instruction and Assessment.

“I have missed the opportunity to be with children and teachers,” she said of her current post. “I’m at a level now where I’m not with children and teachers every day, and I’ve really missed that, and that is my passion.”

Floyd said she began her career in education after her own children started middle school.

Rising from bookkeeper to teacher to district curriculum supervisor, Floyd eventually became the principal of Belmont Hills Elementary in 2004, where she remained for eight years.

“She was a wonderful principal,” said Meghan Hinton, a kindergarten teacher at Belmont Hills during Floyd’s tenure. “Everyone that worked under her, we all learned a lot. She turned the school around from what it was.”

Hinton said that Floyd lead with compassion and kindness.

“Sometimes principals don’t always see you as person, but more like just somebody that worked for them,” Hinton explained, “and she’s just not like that.”

Floyd said she considers instructional leadership the most important part of a principal’s job.

“The principal needs to have a very strong vision for instruction,” she said.

“And the students deserve that so they can have the best experience possible for learning.”

A teacher at heart, Floyd admitted she sometimes misses the classroom.

But Riverside’s newest principal said she finds the best of both worlds in teaching teachers.

“I’ve always had a passion for professional development, and that’s a big part of a principal’s job is being able to help teachers have the best background and the best professional learning possible to meet the needs of the students,” she said.

Modeling for teachers in classroom settings and teaching Sunday school are ways Floyd said she continues to pursue her love of educating.

“I never want to lose my skills as a teacher.”

Singletary takes the reins at Varner

After 19 years in the principal’s office, Singletary says she feels fortunate to have worked with students at every level.

Current Varner head Adeli will soon pass the torch to Singletary, who in turn will hand Riverside Intermediate off to Floyd.

Singletary said she is excited about the shuffle.

Her three decades in education began when she watched her sister excel at school and become a teacher at age 20.

“I’ve always looked up to my older sister,” Singletary said. “We are almost 10 years apart in age, so I was fascinated about everything that she did.”

Singletary explained that, although she aspired to emulate her older sister, Connie Rivero, who still teaches in Virginia, always encouraged her to “be greater.”

“I thought, being a principal, I could do that, because I could have a greater reach of individuals I would be able to touch.”

Singletary says she spent just three and a half years in the classroom before rising into administration.

Her successor at Riverside Intermediate, Floyd, served under Singletary as her assistant principal at Eastvalley Elementary School in 2000.

“She’s a real people person, and she makes relationships really a focus for her, knowing the families and students. She’s really great at that,” Floyd said of her predecessor, whom she called her “great bud.”

“I think she’ll do great. She’s very personable. That’s very important for a principal.”

Singletary has amassed a wealth of wisdom during her many years in leadership positions.

“A good principal is someone who is a good listener and someone who tries to assess the needs of the community,” she said.

Singletary added that, in her experience, teachers and staff alone can’t fulfill all of a child’s learning needs.

“It’s impossible to educate children as a separate entity,” she explained. “It truly does take a village.”

To provide students with the best education, Singletary said, the entire community must band together. She looks forward to putting this philosophy into practice at Varner.

“When it is the home, the school and the community working together, nothing is impossible.”

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Concerned Parent
June 02, 2014
I hope all three are ready to do right by the schools, parents, community and kids. It's unfortunate Ragsdale, the interim superintendent, didn't allow the parents and community input into the principal selection as other schools are doing. We shall see if he has made a wise choice. If he hasn't it will be at the expense of our kids.
Absolute amazement
June 01, 2014
The Powder Springs community has needed a change for their children for the last 5 years and I hope the principal coming to this community realizes that volunteers have been ran off from the school. Many of the people have used the house bill to go somewhere else to get their child in an environment appropriate for elementary children. She has a big job getting people back involved into the school. Research shows the more parent involvement the better off the school and students are. I will continue to pray for the acworth community that lessons have been learned and she is ready to be a positive influence on a school as a principal should be.
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