The Watauga County Board of Education voted unanimously to appoint former Watauga High School educator Dr. Gary Childers to fill a vacancy left on the board after the departure of member Barbara Kinsey last month. Childers will serve until the next election cycle in 2018.
In total, Childers has more than 30 years of experience in Watauga County Schools, both as a teacher and administrator.
School Board Chairman Dr. Ron Henries expressed his gratitude to each of the 17 applicants who put forth their names for the open position and expressed his confidence in Childers’ qualifications.
“We had applicants with an impressive array of talents, qualifications and attributes,” Henries said. “I’d encourage all of them to stay active in Watauga County Schools. We were impressed with the quality of people in Watauga County who were interested in the position — the bad thing was we could only pick one of the 17, but we could have worked with any one of them.”
Childers has been a resident of Watauga County since 1973 when he accepted a teaching position at Hardin Park School. He taught at Hardin Park until becoming an assistant principal at Parkway School in 1978. He became principal at Bethel School in the Fall of 1979 and served until 1986 when he went back to Parkway to serve as principal.
In 2001 Childers accepted the position of principal at Watauga High School, where he served until his retirement in 2005. From 2005 to 2013 he worked as an independent education consultant and a member of the Leadership Group of the Carolinas assisting underachieving high schools in North Carolina. He is currently serving as Executive Director of the High Country United Way.
During her time on the board, Kinsey served on board of education committees for which Henries felt Childers was well suited, including the personnel advisory committee, the WHS curriculum committee and the Watauga Education Foundation. Henries said he felt Childers experience managing education personnel, work as a high school principal and professional knowledge of the operation of non profits would be valuable to continuing that work.
Childers completed his undergraduate education at Wingate and Appalachian State Universities along with a Doctorate in Education from East Tennessee University.
A swearing-in ceremony will take place later this week and will be announced to local media and on the Watauga County Schools website as soon as the details are made final.