Haywood School Board reverses course, mandates masks

At an emergency meeting Saturday, the Haywood County School Board voted 5-2 to mandate masks and enact a plan that will adjust masking policy based on the weekly averages of positive COVID-19 cases. 

Haywood County Schools assess flood damage

Tropical Storm Fred ravaged portions of Haywood County last week, including several school properties. The school board called an emergency meeting Aug. 19 to hear reports of the flood damage. Following Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte’s recommendation, students in Haywood County returned to school on Monday, Aug. 23.

After emergency meeting, Haywood Schools still won’t require masks

Almost three weeks after controversially voting to start the school year with optional masks for students, the Haywood County Schools Board of Education held an emergency meeting Aug. 13 and issued a strong statement asking students to mask up – but stopped short of calling for a mask mandate.

Haywood superintendent reinstated after investigation into controversial post

After being temporarily relieved of his day-to-day duties on July 13 following a controversial July 10 Facebook post, Haywood County Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte has been fully reinstated after an investigation by the Haywood County Schools Board of Education. 

Haywood School Board decides fate of superintendent who posted racially insensitive meme

After a social media post regarded by some as racially insensitive, Haywood County’s superintendent of schools has been temporarily relieved of his duties.

Haywood schools develop summer programs

House Bill 1043 requires school systems to develop a Remediation and Summer Jump Start Plan for the 2020-2021 school year. Remediation and Summer Jump Start is defined as supplemental summer learning programs for students who were in K-4 in the 2019-2020 school year whose learning has been negatively affected by the impacts of COVID-19.

Shining Rock surges, Haywood Schools slips again

After a tumultuous year that saw all manner of controversy — from parental complaints to illegal meetings, transparency issues, secret building projects and dramatically lower enrollment — there’s finally some good news to report from Haywood County’s only public charter school. 

Haywood Schools consolidation plan moves forward

A proposal to consolidate several aging Haywood County Schools administrative buildings into a single multi-million dollar state-of-the-art facility first discussed months ago has suddenly taken on an unanticipated but not unwelcome urgency.

Winter Storm Diego prompts state of emergency in Haywood County

Around a foot of heavy, wet snow that started yesterday afternoon and continued through the night brought down trees, snapped power lines and made travel impossible for some, prompting Haywood County Board of Commissioners Chairman Kevin Ensley to declare a state of emergency as of 8:15 this morning.

Maps from Duke Energy show more than a hundred separate outages affecting at least 4,000 Haywood County customers, who remain without power as of about 11 a.m.

Haywood Schools administrative staff takes shape

Just days after taking the reins as Haywood County Schools superintendent, Dr. Bill Nolte announced the support team that will help him maintain and improve upon the school district’s top-ten percent ranking in the years to come.

After an 80-minute closed session the night of July 12 during which the Haywood County Schools Board of Education deliberated over the changes, Nolte took to the podium to present them in open session.

“I want to thank the board for your support in putting, I believe, a strong senior administrative staff team in place that should carry us for the next five to 10 years,” he said, just after the board approved them unanimously.

Dr. Trevor Putnam will leave his job as Waynesville Middle School principal to become the associate superintendent for support services, managing facility use. He’ll also chair the policy committee, oversee random drug testing and serve as athletic director.

Also elevated to a sub-superintendent role is Jill Barker, who’ll serve as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and be responsible for enrollment, faculty curriculum and instruction, student transfers, remediation budgets, teacher allocations and some public information duties. Barker had been Pisgah High School’s principal.

Mark Sheppard assumes the role of transportation director, and is charged with managing transport operations, driver’s education and determining road quality during inclement weather. Sheppard’s old job of student services director has largely been subsumed into Dr. Putnam’s new position.

Todd Barbee moves to Waynesville Middle School to fill the role of principal at the system’s largest middle school, leaving Canton Middle School.

Carol Fox will leave her assistant principal role at Tuscola High School to serve as the new principal of Canton Middle School.

Kim Jackson is the new technology director, tasked with supervision of system infrastructure as well as library and media services; her old position of assistant technology director will likely go to a data specialist, according to Nolte.

Clint Conner is the new Pisgah High School principal, leaving his principal’s job at Clyde Elementary School.

Byron Burnette will serve as the new principal of Clyde Elementary School. Burnette leaves his assistant principal position at Pisgah High School; board member David Burnette recused himself from the vote on Byron Burnette due to a familial relationship.

Assistant principals are recommended by principals, and Nolte said he expects some recommendations to fill the open slots - those of Fox and Burnette - will be presented to the board on Monday, at its regularly scheduled meeting.

In a press release sent by HCS earlier this evening, Nolte said his only regret was not having “enough openings to place everyone who is qualified and ready.”

Look for more on this developing story in the next issue of Smoky Mountain News, on stands and online Wednesday, July 18. 

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