FULTON – Deana Michaels has been an active community member and has worn different hats throughout the city of Fulton, and come Jan. 1, she will be the new mayor.
Growing up, Michaels, along with her parents and two younger brothers, spent a lot of time in Fulton. Her father worked in the city and she had family tying her to the community.
“That started off at a young age,” Michaels said. “As time progressed, I spent a lot of time in Fulton. My husband was from Syracuse; I was living in Oswego. We decided that halfway in between was ideal for our family… This is where we chose to raise our children… It seemed like the right fit and there was no looking back.”
Michaels said she liked the city’s potential, history, the strong community connections and amazing school district, and she felt connected immediately.
Her parents instilled a strong work ethic in her at a young age. She learned from her father, who after being laid off from his job, worked odd jobs to continue supporting his family.
“We grew up having to work for what we got,” Michaels said. “When I grew up, I learned that same work ethic. I remember when I was in sixth grade, I bought all my school clothes because I babysat all summer… I was proud of that.”
Following her graduation from Oswego High School, Michaels began college, but decided she wanted to instead enter the workforce. Her mother suggested she look into getting a job as a teller at Oswego City Savings Bank, which has since become Pathfinder Bank.
“I went down there as a naive young girl; I had no idea what I was getting myself into to be honest,” Michaels said. “Here I am, in a few days it’ll be 24 years. I worked my way up.”
She started as a teller at the main office in Oswego, then became a financial service representative, a position in the collections department, moved on to be an assistant branch manager, and then she moved to the Fulton office where she has been for about 15 years.
“I wanted to get back into the branch atmosphere because I realized I missed the customer piece of it,” Michaels said.
When she was offered a position at the Fulton office, she and her husband, Kevin, bought their home in the city.
Since moving to the city, Michaels has been involved with a number of committees and boards throughout the community. These include Oswego County Opportunities, Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, City of Fulton Planning Commission and Ethics Committee, Tow Path Towers, Oswego Health Foundation, Child Advocacy Council, Fulton Community Development Agency, and Fulton Block Builders.
“When I get involved with something, I want to make sure I can buy into it and I am also passionate about their mission,” Michaels said.
Michaels was also part of the Fairgrieve PTO while her two sons were in school to stay involved in their education while being a working mother. As part of Lions Club, she served on the Memorial Day Salute committee for two years.
In this year’s mayoral election, Michaels said she decided to run to make a change in the city and give her son more reasons to want to stay where he grew up. She said her family has been her strongest support system throughout the campaign and were very proud when she won.
“My husband has been amazing and has supported me right along and my kids have just been over the top excited for me,” Michaels said.
At this time, Michaels is developing her transition advisory team, which will help her when she begins her first year as mayor. Soon after they meet for the first time, they will help her to work out a plan for her vision of 2025 and to achieve those goals.
“There’s a lot for me to learn and there’s a lot of opportunities ahead for Fulton,” Michaels said. “For me, it’s about surrounding myself with those leaders in the community who can help lead the way with me; building that strong team of experts is key.”
Michaels will take over for outgoing Mayor Ronald Woodward on New Year’s Day.