Buncombe County announces three new principals

News release from Buncombe County Schools:

The Buncombe County Board of Education approved the appointment of three principals for the 2013-14 school year at a special called meeting held Tuesday, June 4. The newly appointed principals will serve at Enka Middle School, Haw Creek Elementary, and Woodfin Elementary.

Leland Blankenship, currently the Director of Secondary Education for Buncombe County Schools, will replace Principal Tom Keever at Enka Middle School effective July 1. Keever is leaving to work at the American School Warsaw, one of Europe’s premiere private schools.

Blankenship has been with Buncombe County Schools in a number of different capacities since 1983, when he became a Career Explorations Instructor at A.C. Reynolds Middle School. He taught Electronics at A.C. Reynolds High School and Metals Manufacturing at Pisgah HS in Haywood County before becoming Director of Vocational Education for Haywood County Schools from 1992-97. He then served as an Assistant Principal at Pisgah HS and Principal of Riverbend Elementary School before returning to Buncombe County as Director of Career Technical Education from 2001 until 2009, when he assumed his current role.

Blankenship holds both a BS and a Masters Degree in Industrial Education and Technology from Appalachian State, and a Certification in Educational Administration from Western Carolina.

Superintendent Tony Baldwin says Blankenship was selected because of his depth of knowledge, wide range of experience, and a leadership style similar to the departing Keever, providing a level of continuity Enka Middle students, staff and parents are likely to appreciate.

Geneva “Ginny” Barrett will leave Woodfin Elementary, where she has served as Principal since 2011, to take the reins from retiring Principal Marcia Perry at Haw Creek Elementary. Both principals have earned the admiration and respect of their school communities, ensuring a smooth transition.

Barrett, a Mars Hill College graduate with a BA in Early Childhood Education, earned a Masters in School Administration from Western Carolina in 2009. She worked at Ira B. Jones Elementary and was Director of the Child Development Center at Eliada Homes, Inc. before joining Buncombe County Schools as a Title 1 Teacher at Emma Elementary from 1994-2006.

Barrett continued her career as a Title 1 Lead Teacher before becoming Assistant Principal at Oakley Elementary in January of 2008. She also served as Assistant Principal at W.D. Willams Elementary before taking her current role as Principal at Woodfin Elementary.

“Ms. Barrett has done an excellent job at Woodfin,” says Superintendent Baldwin, “and will be missed by her colleagues and Woodfin families. I have no doubt that the Haw Creek community will be pleased to have Ms. Barrett fill the void left by Ms. Perry.” Perry was selected Buncombe County Schools’ “2012 Principal of the Year.”

Superintendent Baldwin is also pleased to be able to assure Woodfin families that they will be in good hands under the leadership of Christopher “Chad” Upton, currently serving as an Assistant Principal at Erwin High School.

“Mr. Upton is a veteran administrator, having served as an Assistant Principal at Emma and Glen Arden Elementary Schools, and at Enka and Erwin Middle Schools; as well as Principal at Fairview Elementary,” says Superintendent Baldwin. “He is a kind and caring Principal, and is well suited to continue the good work of Ms. Barrett at Woodfin Elementary. “

Upton holds a BA in Middle Grade Education/Science/Social Studies from Appalachian State, and a Masters in School Administration from Western Carolina University. He joined Buncombe County Schools as a Science Teacher at Enka Middle School from 1998-2004, before taking his first administrator role as Assistant Principal in 2004.

The appointments of both Barrett and Upton will take effect on August 1, 2013.


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