Felton-Smith never thought she would one day be a superintendent

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 23, 2003

When Linda Felton-Smith was a student at Oakland Heights Elementary School, she never thought she would be where she is today.

"As I think back, I would never have dreamed that this could happen," she said.

Felton-Smith grew up in the Troy City School System moving from Oakland Heights to Academy Street High School to Charles Henderson High School. And now, she finds herself perched at the top as the new superintendent.

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"It's almost like a dream," she said. "To go from Oakland Heights to Academy Street to Charles Henderson…it's an awesome feeling."

Felton-Smith said she is excited to take on the new role and is looking forward to working with the school board, administration and staff. But right now, she's more concerned with getting the new school year off to a good start.

"Now that the board has voted and selected me as the new superintendent, the next step is to get this office moved and into the new administration building," she said, sitting in the middle of boxes and piles in her make-shift principal's office.

The CHHS administration building is undergoing remodeling and expansion and Felton-Smith moved her office to a trailer next door to accommodate the construction workers.

The building lacks only a few finishing touches and Felton-Smith is trying to organize the new office before school starts August 6. On top of that, she also has to prepare for her move to the central office.

"School is right around the corner and we have to do things very quickly," she said.

Not only does she need to meet with the board to discuss her contract, but she also needs to meet with the board and Superintendent Hank Jones to discuss her replacement.

Felton-Smith's move to the central office won't place her completely off the Trojan map.

"With our system being the size that it is I still plan to be on all the campuses getting to know the students," she said. "Because that's what this job is all about, serving the children of Troy."

The time Felton-Smith has spent in Troy both as a student and an administrator gives her an almost automatic support group.

"Some of the people I went to high school with have children in the system; some of the people I went to high school with have grandchildren in the system," she said. "I've grown up in Troy, people know my parents, so we've all known each other for a long time."

Felton-Smith said well wishers have been calling since the board meeting last night. She even intercepted one such call meant for her mother while she was there visiting.

"I am very appreciative of the many people in Troy who believe in me and will support my presiding leadership for Troy City Schools."

Felton-Smith also took part in a selective Alabama superintendent preparation program, which was a year-long in-depth study of leadership in the schools. She was also able to interact with other superintendents.

She said the program combined with her experience and knowledge of the school system make the transition from principal to superintendent easier.

"As a result of this course I have a good feeling," she said. "This and my experience together make me feel better about the task I am faced with."

She said Hank Jones is a good role model and she appreciates his leadership.

"Mr. Jones cares about every employee in the school system," she said. "I want to follow that example. He is always willing to sit down an listen; he may not always have the answer you want to hear, but he'll take the time to hear what you have to say."

She said Jones called to congratulate her and has been very supportive of her from day one.

"Because his heart is in the Troy City Schools, I know he will do everything he can to help me be successful," she said.