Emery approved as county AD; Franklin to take over at Norcross

Mike Emery has slightly more than a week to finish up his duties at Norcross and hand over his job to his replacement, Nathan Franklin.

Emery, the Blue Devils' athletic and activities director, was approved on Thursday night as the new director of athletics, student activities and community schools for Gwinnett County Public Schools. His replacement at Norcross is Franklin, who was announced as Norcross' athletic and activities director on Friday.

The 47-year-old Emery spent 23 years at Norcross, most as a teacher and coach in basketball, baseball, football and softball. He has been the school's AD for the past 10 years.

So needless to say, it was hard to leave Norcross.

"The difficult part of the decision was leaving a place I've been half my life," Emery said. "I'm a people person. I enjoy building relationships. You can't help but do that when you're at one place for so long. And I'm a very loyal person. The coaches and the people here are great. It's hard to leave them."

Emery's new job allows him to work directly with the county's high school principals and athletic directors, as well as the middle school principals. He also will work with community school directors, foreign exchange students and joint enrollment programs.

He officially starts the new job Sept. 25.

"One of my goals is to be very visible," Emery said. "I want to talk to the principals, the ADs and the coaches, as many as I can. I want to let them know I'm there to support them. I'll see them at games, at events. It's important they know they have someone supporting them at the county level."

Emery said he was pleased that Norcross chose Franklin as his replacement. The 32-year-old is a Gwinnett grad - he went to Dacula - and has been at Norcross since 1999.

He coached football for the Blue Devils from 1999 to 2004, and has been an administrator for the past 21⁄2 years, most recently as associate principal.

"Everybody knows (Franklin) at Norcross," Emery said. "He's well-respected in the community. The kids love him. He'll do a great job."

Franklin said he was honored to follow Emery, who he said people affectionately call "Mr. Norcross." The two have worked together for years, but they will cram plenty of work into the next week or so as Norcross transitions into the Franklin era.

"The biggest reason I'm excited is that athletics and extracurricular activities bring so much to the development of teenagers," Franklin said. "That's why I got into this business, to help kids."