After a two year Island Institute fellowship on Vinalhaven, Michael Felton will be joining the Institute staff as the Education Outreach Director. Mike’s fellowship focused on education and community development. He taught middle school social studies, college aspirations, and an eighth grade service learning class.

The service learning class evolved into an extensive effort, spearheaded by last year’s eighth graders, to bring a skateboard park to Vinalhaven. While many students and community members have supported and participated in this effort, the eighth grade has been at the forefront through extensive research, surveys, organization of town meetings, publicity in local newspapers and presentations to donors. Mike intends to continue working with the eighth graders, as well as the larger school and town population, in making the skate park idea a concrete reality.

The Education Outreach Director position offers Felton an opportunity to continue his work in education, while broadening the scope by working with all the Maine island community schools.

“I will miss the extent of personal interaction with the students offered by teaching in the classroom,” he said, “but I am excited to work with a variety of island schools in addressing issues they deem important such as technology education, scholarships, student transitioning to college, and encouraging and enabling communication between island students and school staff.”

Felton replaces former Education Outreach Director Jim Doyle, who resigned.

Felton will continue living on Vinalhaven as he continues to explore the fields of education and community development. He is grateful, he says, that he was able to begin that exploration as a classroom teacher on Vinalhaven. He wants to extend a special thanks to next year’s seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth graders for helping teach him how to teach, and to the rest of the school and town for showing him what it is to be part of a community.