By Jesse Wood
July 15, 2014. The new Watauga County Schools Supt. Scott Elliott participated in his first Watauga County Board of Education meeting as the leader of the school system and gave his first superintendent’s report on Monday evening.
His report touched on a number of topics.
He thanked the board, staff, parents and community members that have been “so welcoming and supportive” since his first day on the job, which was July 1. Elliott was hired away from Transylvania County Schools, where he was assistant superintendent. The school board announced the selection of Elliott in May.
“I am already impressed with the strong sense of community and pride we have in the school system, and that is something we certainly will work hard to continue,” Elliott said.
He noted that about 18 teachers, principals and district staff attended breakout sessions, covering different topics, at the N.C. Department of Public Instruction’s summer institute down the mountain in Wilkes County. In addition, WCS staff had time to plan amongst themselves during the two-day retreat.
“We identified what we believe are our instructional strengths and also areas where we would like to work to improve for the coming year. We also began the first of what will be many conversations around the school system about our upcoming revision to our system’s strategic plan,” Elliott said.
While noting that the N.C. House and Senate are still in negotiations for the fiscal year 2014-15 budget, Elliott mentioned that it does have the final budget allocation from the Watauga County Board of Commissioners.
Elliott said that he asked WCS Finance Diretor Ly Marze to reconvene the school system’s Finance Committee to “begin reconciling our initial request with the actual allocation.” Watauga County Schools requested $12,558,831 and received $12,062,834 – a difference of $495,997.
Elliott spoke about the search for a new principal at Valle Crucis. The school system has received 35 applications so far for the new principal position at Valle Crucis School. Former Principal Martha Clark announced her resignation last month because of family matters.
Elliott said that the information gleaned from a public input sessions with staff, teachers and students regarding “their priorities for the future of the school and characteristics they would like to see in their new leader” will be used to develop a leadership profile for Clark’s successor.
“It is still our goal to have a new principal in place by the first day of school if at all possible. If our timeline continues as planned we would like to have a special called board meeting on July 28 to bring the board a recommendation for the new principal,” Elliott said.
Elliott announced a two-day leadership retreat next Tuesday and Wednesday at the Watauga Medical Center’s conference center and mentioned that State Supt. June Atkinson will be the guest speaker at the WCS’s convocation on Friday, Aug. 15, at 2:30 p.m. at Watauga High School.
“If I am counting correctly, we have just 30 days until our first teacher workday and 36 days until our students return on August 19,” Elliott said, rounding out his report. “It will be here before you know it!”