A few years ago during the Aspiring Administrators Academy — a semester-long course Rutherford County Schools offers to those who wish to one day serve as a principal — Felicia James received a book recommendation that shaped the way she has led as an assistant principal at David Youree Elementary School.
The book, The 4 CORE Factors for School Success, stresses the importance of Communications, Observations, Relationships and Expectations when designing a leadership strategy for schools.
James plans to apply that philosophy in her new role as the principal of Smyrna Primary School, an appointment that was announced today by Director of Schools Don Odom.
“I’m honored to be selected to serve the students, teachers and families of Smyrna Primary School and to build upon the school’s legacy,” James said.
James has served as an assistant principal at David Youree the past two years and is excited to share her plans with the Smyrna Primary community, she said.
“I’m very much about being CORE centered,” James said. “We have framed so much of our success at David Youree on the CORE philosophy.”
In making the announcement, Odom cited James’ vast experience in multiple roles with Rutherford County Schools. Prior to serving as assistant principal at David Youree, she served as a school-based technology specialist and an elementary classroom teacher at schools including Eagleville, Rockvale Middle, Rockvale Elementary and Stewartsboro Elementary.
“She has a plan for what she wants to do and is very goal driven,” Odom said. “Her past experience teaching at a Title I school and her ability to be inclusive to bring people together will serve Smyrna Primary well.”
The school’s current principal, Dr. Gale Vogel, recently announced her retirement after serving 17 years in the position.
James is eager to begin the transition process, she said.
“I have high expectations for myself,” James said. “If you’re going to have high expectations for others, you first have to start with yourself.”
A search for a new assistant principal for David Youree will begin immediately.