JEFFERSON — Two new directors were introduced to the Ashe County Board of Education during its June/July meeting on Thursday, June 27, and a budget work session was scheduled for July 2.
Roy Putman and Julie Taylor were announced as new directors for Ashe County Schools during the meeting. Putnam will serve as human resources director, previously held by Lesia Goodman, starting July 1. Taylor will serve as federal programs director, previously held by Sandra Peterson, also starting July 1.
Originally from Catawba County, Putman graduated from Appalachian State University and completed his student-teaching at Ashe County High School. He went on to teach at Alleghany High School, also serving as assistant principal. Putman later served as principal of Millers Creek Christian School.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Putman said. “It’s kind of been a dream for about the last decade or so to work in Ashe County.”
Both Goodman and Peterson have lengthy careers with Ashe County Schools. Goodman said during the meeting that her retirement was bittersweet. Peterson, who has worked with ACS for 33 years, was also sentimental.
“It’s just an awesome school system,” Peterson said. “I’m proud to have been a part of it.”
Peterson added that she couldn’t be happier with her replacement, saying that she’s worked with Taylor for years now.
“I have all the confidence and faith in the world in her,” Peterson said. “She’s going to do a great job.”
Chairman C.B. Jones said that Goodman and Peterson will certainly be missed.
During public comment, two parents of Ashe County students expressed concerns regarding frequent changes in assistant principals at Westwood Elementary School.
Shawn Horton, who has two children currently attending Westwood Elementary School, said that his oldest daughter has seen four changes in assistant principals at the school.
“It’s somewhat disheartening to me,” Horton said. “My concern is we get used to something, then there’s a change — and then there’s another change.”
Amanda Knighton also expressed concerns about the changes in assistant principals at Westwood Elementary, saying that it disrupts the “school family” that children rely on.
“One thing I’ve learned as a parent and an educator is that children need stability,” Knighton said. “I just ask you to consider maybe not having so much movement for the children.”
Board member Dianne Eldreth supported the parents’ concerns, saying that assistant principals have more interactions with students than other administrators.
“I’m very concerned that we’re not giving our assistant principals the time to build those relationships,” Eldreth said.
Superintendent Phyllis Yates explained that the focus has been for Ashe County to develop its own administrators, allowing them to gain experience at each of the five schools in the county.
“Every school has a different culture,” Yates said. “These assistant principals that we want to become principals — they need to learn the culture of every school.”
Also during the meeting, the board adopted an interim budget until it approves its 2019-2020 fiscal year budget. The Ashe County Board of Education is scheduled to meet again on Tuesday, July 2, at 7 p.m. for a budget work session.