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Tuscola principal resigns

Heather Blackmon submitted her resignation on Feb. 6. Heather Blackmon submitted her resignation on Feb. 6.

Just weeks after the resignation of Tuscola’s head football coach, Principal Heather Blackmon has handed in her resignation from the same Haywood County high school.

Superintendent Trevor Putnam announced that he had received Blackmon’s resignation on Monday, Feb. 6. This comes after she had been suspended with pay from her position on Dec. 16. 

When an employee is suspended with pay, they may be suspended for up to 90 days. Blackmon had been on suspension for 52 days as of Feb. 6. She was first hired as Tuscola High School principal in July 2020. 

The school system has said it will immediately post the job opening and look both internally and externally for the next person to fill the role. Since Blackmon’s suspension, Assistant Tuscola Principal Jacob Shelton has been serving as lead administrator for the school. He will continue to do so until the position can be filled. 

Because this was a personnel issue, the school system could not comment on the nature of the suspension or reasons for the resignation, though the move was related to the suspension of Tuscola’s head football coach Chris Brookshire. Brookshire had been suspended with pay on Dec. 7 and was later suspended without pay on Dec. 16. He resigned his position in January following the revelation that he had been suspended due to allegations of sexual harassment. 

Because Blackmon resigned her position after being suspended, North Carolina General Statute does not allow for the specifics of disciplinary action to be made public. For this reason, the public cannot be privy to what went down at the school which resulted in Blackmon’s departure. 

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“Since this matter was reported in the media, I know our community has had a lot of questions and many have raised concerns over how this matter was handled,” Putnam said following the suspension of both Tuscola employees and the resignation of Brookshire. “It is important to remember the school system is limited on what information it may release about employees. State law requires most employee information to remain confidential, which makes it difficult for us to answer questions or address concerns about employee issues. While this may be frustrating for some, I hope our community realizes that every employee has a right for the process to finish before judgment is made.”

Blackmon spent time in Haywood County when she was growing up and is the grandchild of the namesake of C.E. Weatherby stadium; her grandmother worked as the librarian at Tuscola for several years. When she was hired with the school system in 2020, Blackmon told The Smoky Mountain News that Haywood County was “home.”

“To have the opportunity to potentially spend the rest of my career here has allowed me to truly ‘live the dream’ that everyone deserves, but few get the chance,” Blackmon told SMN after she was hired. “I intend to enjoy every day of it. 

Blackmon was the first woman to work as head principal at Tuscola, something she called “an honor and very meaningful.” 

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