New assistant principals for Waynesville Middle and Pisgah High were named this week, wrapping up the summer shuffle of top positions in Haywood County Schools.
Karley Wells, a teacher at Clyde, will become an assistant principal at Pisgah. Wells is replacing Emily Gephart, who took a job in Buncombe County where she lives.
Baron Rogers, a Tuscola history teacher, will become an assistant principal at Waynesville Middle — filling a vacancy created by the ripple effect of other promotions within the school system.
The summer shuffle among principals, assistant principals and top central office positions is a common occurance in school districts. One retirement at the top will set off a chain reaction: whoever is promoted to fill that vacancy leaves another vacancy in their wake, and so on.
It started with the retirement of Elementary Supervisor Ron Moss. His job was filled by Bethel Elementary Principal Kim Shipman. Shipman’s job was filled by Jonathan Valley Principal Heather Hollingsworth. And her job was then filled by Waynesville Middle Assistant Principal Jennifer Reeves. Finally, Rogers will step in to the assistant principal opening at Waynesville Middle.
Here’s a little about the two new assistant principals named this week.
• Karley Wells, new Pisgah Assistant Principal
It wasn’t too long ago that Wells, 27, was a student at Pisgah herself, and said she is thrilled to be a part of the “Pisgah nation” again.
“Not too long ago I stood before my Pisgah graduating class reminscing on the great years Haywood County Schools had given us as we prepared to take on the world,” Wells said. “Now I get the opportunity to give back to a new generation of Pisgah students and provide that same loving encouragement and support that was given to me.”
Pisgah Principal Clint Conner got to know Wells as a teacher at Clyde, where he was the principal before coming to Pisgah last year. Conner was the one who hired Wells for her first teaching job, and said he was impressed by her dedication to students.
“Mrs. Wells’ car was the last one in the parking lot almost every single day,” Conner said. He recalled one time where she helped a student with chronic lice by going into their family’s home and helping them take the necessary steps to become lice free.
“It’s very evident she loves kids,” Conner said.
• Baron Rogers, new Waynesville Middle Assistant Principal
Rogers said he wouldn’t be where he is today without the students he’s taught at Tuscola over the past 16 years.
“They have made me the educator I am today. They’ve helped write the book that’s my life so far,” Rogers said.
Rogers said it will be hard to leave the classroom at Tuscola, but said he is looking forward to the opportunity.
“Anytime you do this you are taking a chance on somebody and I am really pleased you chose to take a chance on me,” Rogers told the school board Monday night when accepting the position.
Rogers, who has three kids and whose wife is also a teacher, plays the mandonlin in the bluegrass band Mountain Bridge.
Waynesville Middle has three assistant principals, with each one assigned to a grade. School Board Chairman Chuck Francis said Rogers’ tenure at Tuscola makes him a perfect fit for the assistant principal that’s assigned to eighth graders.
“You certainly know what it requires for students to be successful when they go up to Tuscola since you’ve been there a good while,” Francis said.
Haywood County Schools has an internal talent development program that cultivates future leaders from within, called the Aspiring Administrators Academy. Its goal is to identify, coach and train teachers to move up as positions become open. Superintendent Bill Nolte said the school system has a good crop “in the tank.”
“Haywood County is going to be strong and I think it’s because that program has done a very good job at preparing our future leaders,” Waynesville Middle Principal Todd Barbee said.