NewsWatauga County Schools

Board of Education names Scott Strickler as WHS Principal, appoints new Central Office Directors

Last Updated on June 19, 2023 7:15 pm

BOONE — The Watauga County Board of Education has named Scott Strickler the new Principal of Watauga High School. During their regular meeting held Monday night, the School Board also approved the selection of three new administrators who will join the district’s Central Services Team.

Strickler currently serves as the principal of Brevard High School in Transylvania County. He has served as a middle school assistant principal and as principal in three different schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He was twice recognized as the Transylvania County School’s Principal of the Year. Strickler began his career as a middle school science and social studies teacher at Rosman Middle School in Transylvania County Schools under the leadership of current WCS Superintendent Scott Elliott who was the principal of the school at that time.

Strickler thanked the board for his selection and noted his long held respect for the school system as well as his family ties to the Watauga community. Strickler graduated from Appalachian State University. His wife Heather relocated with her family to Boone and attended Appalachian State University while her younger sister attended and graduated from Watauga High School.

“The opportunity to lead Watauga High School with its history, deep community roots and many examples of excellence is an incredible honor,” Strickler stated. “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 set to take the Principal’s position after the tenure of Chris Blanton who was promoted to Assistant Superintendent for the school system.

The board also approved the selection of three other administrators for the coming school year.

Phil Norman was named as Watauga’s new Chief Academic Officer. Norman currently serves as the Principal of Hardin Park Elementary School. He will take over the role previously held by Tamara Stamey prior to her retirement last December.

Jana Dobbins will step into the role of Director of Exceptional Children's Services. She currently serves as the Exceptional Children Program Specialist for the school system. She will take over the leadership of the district’s special education services after the retirement of current director Michael Marcela in July.

Tierra Stark will move to the central office as the Director of Student Services and the Afterschool Program. She currently serves as an assistant principal and director of the Watauga Innovation Academy at Watauga High School. In that role, she also served as the district’s director of Career and Technical Education.

Elliott, who was attending his final school board meeting as superintendent, commented on the quality of the leaders who were selected for these positions. He also mentioned that while it was an honor for him to formally recommend these hirings to the board, the incoming superintendent, Leslie Alexander, and assistant superintendent, Chris Blanton, conducted the interviews and made the final decisions about who was selected.

“It is important to me that Dr. Alexander has the opportunity to build her own team and select the people she believes best fit her vision for the district moving forward,” Elliott said. “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.”

Commenting on his final meeting, Elliott stated, “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. I look forward to the many great things to come for our students and our community under Dr. Alexander’s leadership.”

Newly appointed WHS Principal Scott Strickler, Superintendent Scott Elliott and Incoming Superintendent Leslie Alexander are photographed with Tierra Stark, Phil Norman and Jana Dobbins who will join the district leadership team.

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