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Watauga High School Gets New Principal

New WHS Principal Scott Strickler (second from right), incoming superintendent Leslie Alexander and outgoing superintendent Scott Elliott are joined by new members of the district leadership team Tierra Stark, Phil Norman and Jana Dobbins. Photo courtesy of Watauga County Public Schools.

By Zack Hill

Scott Strickler has been named the new principal of Watauga County High School by the county board of education. He takes the place of Chris Blanton who was recently promoted to assistant superintendent for the school system.

“The opportunity to lead Watauga High School with its history, deep community roots and many examples of excellence is an incredible honor,” Strickler said. “The opportunity to return to Watauga with Heather and our children is a blessing. I already feel the excitement of beginning a new school year and I look forward to meeting the students, parents, teachers and staff.”

Strickler is currently principal of Brevard High School in Transylvania County and was recognized twice as that system’s “Principal of the Year.” He will move into his role at Watauga High School this summer. He is a graduate of Appalachian State University and is familiar with Boone and Watauga County.

The board named Leslie Alexander as new superintendent in a May meeting. She is taking over for the departing Scott Elliot. Blanton, who Strickler is replacing, will serve alongside Alexander as assistant superintendent.

Elliot thanked the board and the community for his time as superintendent.

“Serving this community has been the honor of my life and I cannot thank this community and this school system enough for the last nine years,” Elliot said. “I look forward to the many great things to come for our students and our community under Dr. Alexander’s leadership.”

Three other administrators were approved for new roles in the 2023-24 school year.

Phil Norman was named chief academic officer, Jane Dobbins will take on the role of director of exceptional children’s services and Tierra Stark is joining the central office as director of student services and afterschool programs.

Elliot said that the staffing and administrative changes have set the school system up well for continued success.

“I have had the honor of working closely with every single person who was selected tonight and I can tell you that this is going to be a very strong leadership team,” Elliot said.