Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Diana Middleton It's a New Beginning at Southside

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Diana Middleton It's a New Beginning at Southside

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Trinidad, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Southside Elementary is used to welcoming new faces, but this year, kids in pre-kindergarten through first grade have welcomed a new principal.

A long-time faculty member of the Nassau County School District, Diana Middleton, steps up to her first administrative position.

Although she thinks she'll miss being in a classroom during special weeks like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Middleton anticipates having greater influence on her students.

"The number of people you can influence is so much larger as a principal," Middleton said. "We need really good administration leaders in the school system and I wanted to be a part of that."

The new principal plans to maintain Southside's high test scores and ensure that students leave able to read at grade level.

"Statistically, students who leave here not reading at grade level have a difficult time catching up," she said. "It's critical that we catch them while they are here and have them leave with good reading skills."

Middleton emphasizes the roles parents play in that process.

"It's important to increase parent awareness and have them reading to their kids every night," she said.

Middleton, who has lived in Fernandina Beach for 19 years, knows Southside Elementary well. Both her sons, Parker, 12, and Carl, 19, are Southside alumni.

"Yes, they both went to Southside and their teachers are still here," Middleton said.

Middleton has taught at all three elementary schools in Fernandina Beach. Last year, she spent half her time at Atlantic Elementary School and half at Southside as the Title I teacher. Before that, she spent two years as the curriculum resource teacher at Emma Love Hardee Elementary, Atlantic Elementary and Southside.

"Southside was just the perfect place for me," she said.

Middleton was a legal secretary before her 12-year career with the county school system. …

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