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Ferguson returning to elementary ranks
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Betty Jean Ferguson is looking forward to moving back to an elementary school next school year.

Ferguson, the instructional supervisor at Effingham County Middle School for the last four years, will become principal at Marlow Elementary.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “My background is in elementary. The last four years I’ve spent here at the middle school, but all of my educational experience prior to that has been at the elementary school.”

Ferguson said she has been in education for 20 years and has spent the majority of that time in the Effingham School System. She’s been in Effingham schools for 12 years, starting at Ebenezer Elementary when that school opened and teaching third grade there for three years. She later was the reading recovery teacher there for two years.

She was lead teacher at Springfield Elementary for two years and has been instructional supervisor at ECMS for four years.

“I have loved so much being in the middle school setting, and I’ve had an opportunity to do things that I haven’t done before,” Ferguson said. “I’ve been involved in discipline. I’ve been more involved in budget. We’re a Title I school.

I’ve been very involved in facilitating that. I’ve been involved in the evaluation of teachers, which is something that I didn’t do as a lead teacher, so all of those things have prepared me for the next step, which in my mind was being a principal.

“I love the middle school, but there’s something about elementary,” Ferguson said. “You know how you set professional goals for yourself. I set a professional goal for myself that I would like to one day be an elementary school principal. I’m excited and humbled that I’ve been given the opportunity to do that.”

She has met with the faculty at Marlow, which she called a “wonderful” school.

“Test scores are fabulous,” Ferguson said. “Obviously teaching and learning is going on. There’s a lot of parental support there. It’s a great school. I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

Ferguson said she will miss the staff and students at ECMS.

“The staff is fabulous here, and students,” she said. “I have really enjoyed myself here. It’s like another family here.

These folks care about these students. They want what’s best for these kids they want to help these kids. The staff that we have here is for the most part totally committed to the students.

“It’s all about what’s best for the children,” she said. “I’ve had the chance to meet a few of the parents from Marlow already. I’ve been told, and I believe this, there is a tremendous amount of parental support there. You feel that when you walk in the building.”

Ferguson said there is apprehension when someone new goes to be a principal at a school.

“My door is always open,” Ferguson said. “I know when a new person goes in there’s a lot of apprehension like ‘what are they going to do?’ Marlow’s not broken, it won’t be fixed. The staff that’s been there it’s a very stable staff, there’s very low turnover. Going in everything’s working it’s just a matter of maintaining and moving forward with what’s there.”

Ferguson said sometimes educators will ask what new programs an administrator will want to start when that person begins at a school. She said “none” — the programs Marlow has are working for the students.

“We’re just going to continue with the good things that are going on,” she said.