The Watauga County Board of Education voted unanimously on May 8 to appoint new principals at Cove Creek and Parkway schools.
Kelly Walker, who currently serves as a Watauga High School Assistant Principal, will take the lead at Cove Creek, while Parkway Assistant Principal Patty Buckner is set to head Parkway School.
Watauga County Schools employs a rigorous vetting process in the hiring of all principals. In the course of seeking the respective principal positions, Walker and Buckner took part in a series of interviews with different school stakeholder groups including teachers, parents, and school and central office staff.
After additional formal interviews with Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott, the two were recommended for the school board’s consideration.
“A principal at any one of our schools serves not only as a leader within those school grounds, but as a leader within that community as a whole, so in considering candidates for that position, we work to involve as many stakeholders as possible,” said Elliott.
“Each school within our district has a unique voice and plays its own important role within the whole. Having witnessed the great work Mrs. Walker and Mrs. Buckner do everyday in their current roles, and having considered the positive input of those with whom they will work most closely, I am confident that each will continue the tradition of excellence that exists within both their schools.”
Walker, who has served at WHS since 2013, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in American studies at Appalachian State University, a Master of Arts degree in history from N.C. State University and a Master of Science degree in School Administration from Western Carolina. Prior to coming to Watauga, Walker held positions as a middle school teacher, a teacher for academically gifted middle school students, a high school assistant principal, and as a lead teacher and principal at the elementary level. She is a National Board certified teacher, an NC Principal Fellow and participated in the WCS Teacher Leadership Institute at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching.
Buckner, who will begin her tenure as principal at Parkway School next year, has 11 years of experience in Watauga County Schools, including the last two years as assistant principal at Parkway. Buckner received a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Columbia College and a Master of School Administration from Appalachian State University. She recently completed the school system’s year long professional development program for aspiring school leaders.
In addition to her time as an assistant principal in Watauga County Schools, Buckner has served as a first grade teacher and a teacher’s assistant at Bethel and Cove Creek schools.
Elliott added his appreciation for everyone who participated in the selection of the new principals. He also mentioned being pleased at being able to hire well qualified principals from within the county.
“We always look for the very best and most qualified person for each position. It’s especially gratifying when the best candidates come from within our schools and already know the needs of our community, our teachers, and our students,” Elliott said.