Superintendent Announces Three New Principals
Retirements on the district staff have resulted in the shuffling of four school administrators for the coming school year. Director of Student Services Natalie Gouge and Director of Teacher Support Programs Susan Westall are retiring with 29 plus years of service. Both retirements are effective on June 30. Mr. Garrett shared “We are very thankful to both Natalie and Susan for their many years of distinguished service to the students of McDowell County Schools, and we wish them nothing but the best as they embark on this next chapter of their lives.”
Current Marion Elementary principal Ashley McCartha will be replacing Ms. Gouge on the district staff as the next Director of Student Services. Ms. McCartha began her career as a science teacher at MHS in 2006. She served in that role until being selected as a NC Principal Fellow in 2010. She completed the fellowship program in 2012 and then served as assistant principal at both East and West Junior Highs. She was reassigned as an assistant principal at McDowell High in 2014. She was named to her present role at Marion in 2017.
Marion Elementary’s next leader will be current West Marion assistant principal Angela Wilkerson. Ms. Wilkerson is in her 29th year of service in public education, with 28 of those years in MCS. She began her career as a teacher at Nebo Elementary in 1992, and was named to the staff at Eastfield Global Magnet in 1998 after a one-year stint in Duplin County. In 2013 Ms. Wilkerson was reassigned to the district staff as the Director of Federal Programs. She has served as the assistant principal at West Marion Elementary since 2016.
Current North Cove Elementary principal Rod Slagle will be the first principal of the newly formed MCS K-12 Virtual School. Mr. Slagle began his career as a teacher at East McDowell Junior High in 1992. He was elevated to assistant principal in 2005 and later served in the same role in Burke County. Mr. Slagle relocated to Mitchell County in 2009 to serve as principal at Bowman Middle School and later at Harris Middle. He returned to McDowell County as principal at Marion in 2013, and was reassigned as principal at North Cove in 2017.
Replacing Mr. Slagle at North Cove will be West Middle assistant principal Steven Roark. Mr. Roark began his career as a teacher at Table Rock Middle School in Burke County in 2012. He was selected as a NC Principal Fellow in 2016. Upon completion of the fellowship program, Mr. Roark was named to his current role as assistant principal at West Middle in 2018.
“We are very confident in all of our new principals, and I have high hopes for next year and many years to come” stated Garrett. The new principal assignments will be effective on July 1.