In the opening moments of the April Board meeting, Dr. Jan Webster, Director of the Western Region Education Service Alliance in Asheville, was pleased to announce that MCS Superintendent Mark R. Garrett has been selected by his peers as the Western Region 2020-21 Superintendent of the Year. Present for the ceremony were members of the Board and staff, Dr. Webster and her husband Bryant, and Mr. Garrett’s wife Allison and their three children. Garrett was humbled at the news: “I am honored to have been nominated by my peers, and I feel privileged to serve as a part of the team for McDowell County and our School System.”
Garrett was born and raised in Jefferson County, Tennessee. He graduated from Tusculum College in Greenville, TN in December 1995. He began his teaching career in 1996 as a 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher at Jefferson Middle School. In July 2001 he accepted his first administrative position as Assistant Principal at Watauga HS in Boone, NC. The following summer he accepted his first principalship as Principal of Valle Crucis Elementary (K-8) in Watauga County. He served in that role for two years before accepting the principalship of Avery High School in Newland in 2004. Garrett served as the Avery High principal for over eight years. In November 2012 he was named Assistant Superintendent of McDowell County Schools. He served in that role for only 11 months before being named Interim Superintendent on October 1, 2013. Garrett was officially named the MCS Superintendent on April 1, 2014. He has now served as the Board appointed leader of McDowell County Schools for over seven years.
MCS Board Chair Terry Frank had strong words of praise for Garrett, stating “Mr. Garrett has served the students, families, and educators of McDowell County for the past 7 years in a truly outstanding manner. The students of all 14 of our schools met or exceeded growth on the most recent state testing results. We as a Board could not be more proud of our district, and that includes superintendent Mark Garrett.” Dr. Webster added “We are very proud of Mr. Garrett as our Western Region representative in the Superintendent of the Year process. He is an exemplary leader, he has been instrumental to positive change in his district, and he will represent our region and this district in a professional manner.”