Two newly appointed assistant principals are at work in the Watauga County Schools as the system prepares for the 2015-16 school year. Kelly Walker is a new assistant principal at Watauga High School and Patty Buckner has been named the new assistant principal at Parkway School.
Walker succeeds Heather Freeman, who resigned last month to accept other employment. Buckner succeeds Stephanie Weeks at Parkway, where Mrs. Weeks was appointed principal last month. Walker and Buckner each have prior experience at the school that they will now serve as assistant principal.
“We are extremely pleased to announce the addition of Ms. Walker and Ms. Buckner to our leadership team,” said Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. “They are skilled and dedicated professionals who will provide strong support to the faculty, staff, and principals at their respective schools.”
Dr. Elliott also announced a reorganization of central office services to sharpen and strengthen the district’s focus on supporting classroom instruction while reducing central office expenses. The reorganization will affect the responsibilities of a number of central office personnel.
Human Resources Director Dr. Stephen Martin will add the supervision of auxiliary services directors (Child Nutrition, Maintenance, and Transportation) to his existing duties and is being named assistant superintendent for WCS. Former Assistant Superintendent Dr. David Fonseca left the school system last week to accept a similar position with the Burke County Schools.
Tamara Stamey, who has been early education director, will now oversee all of the district’s curriculum and instruction services in her new role as chief academic officer for WCS. She will also retain her previous duties supporting curriculum implementation and professional development for faculty in PreK through third grade.
Dr. Wayne Eberle’s title is being changed to Director of Accountability and School Improvement to reflect a greater emphasis on data analysis and organizational effectiveness. He continues to also be responsible for federal programs in the district.
Current Instructional Technology Support Specialist Ike Smith will become director of instructional support services as he adds the responsibility for AIG (Academically and Intellectually Gifted) services to his existing duties. His position is a key element in the WCS strategy for implementing best practices in the increased use of instructional technology.
The reorganization will eliminate one existing central office position and allow for the creation of a new teacher leadership position of district wide academic coach. This new position will substantially enhance the school system’s capacity to provide direct on-site support to help classroom teachers strengthen classroom instruction and improve student achievement. The position will be filled by a teacher “on loan” from a WCS school for a two year period. The first person to hold the position has not yet been chosen.
The overall cost impact of the changes will be a savings of about $12,000 annually in salaries and benefits. These savings will be used to increase the budgets for professional development for teachers and instructional materials, areas of the budget where state funding was slashed in the wake of the Great Recession and has not been restored.
“We are committed to putting increased student success at the center of all that we do in our schools,” noted Dr. Elliott. “Putting every dollar we can into helping our teachers be the absolute best they can be is a cornerstone of that effort. These changes embrace our commitment to continuous improvement in instruction and our responsibility for the efficient and effective use of taxpayer dollars.”