Dr. Julie Finley visits with Gov. Robert Bentley and former governor Bob Riley. (CONTRIBUTED)
Dr. Julie Finley visits with Gov. Robert Bentley and former governor Bob Riley. (CONTRIBUTED)

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Julie Finley accepts vice-presidency at U.S. Space & Rocket Center

Published 4:38pm Thursday, August 1, 2013

MADISON – Dr. Julie Finley is leaving Bob Jones High School to work as vice president of educational initiatives at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

She will join CEO Dr. Deborah Barnhart’s executive staff in implementing plans “for the next generation,” Finley said.

Since 2005, Finley has worked as assistant principal at Bob Jones, then Alabama’s largest high school with 195 employees and 2,300-plus students. “I’ve been blessed to serve all levels of K-12 education … as parent, teacher, coach, counselor and administrator,” she said.

Finley said Bob Jones and the space center both “are committed to best delivery of educational programs, transportation, food services, infirmary assistance, custodial support and employee development.”

At the center, Finley will develop educational connections, encourage state government to increase participation in center activities and “extend visibility of key educational venues regionally, nationally and internationally.”

“When we work with our God-given abilities, work becomes passion. I’m thankful my passion now has an international audience,” she said, citing Dan Miller’s “No More Mondays.”

A Kentucky native, Finley earned bachelor’s degrees in English and psychology at Murray State University, a master’s degree in school counseling at Western Kentucky University and a doctorate’s degree in organizational administration at the University of Louisville. She taught in Kentucky 14 years and then was assistant principal at Columbia Elementary School.

Reflecting on ‘the Bob Jones years,’ Finley said the staff “raised expectation and rigor of course work.” Advanced placement courses increased from 6 to 24 courses, tops in Alabama. The weighted grading scale differentiates an “A” in physical education from AP calculus.

For her Bob Jones successor, Finley recommends making “every decision based on what’s best for kids! You’ll be able to sleep at night.”

Her husband, former Madison Mayor Paul Finley, has returned to private consulting. Son Tyler is a junior at Auburn University on full scholarship. Tanner, 17, is a Bob Jones senior and basketball player. Kyle, 14, runs track and studies saxophone and piano.

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