JCPS announces new principal for Smoky Mountain High School

Joey Robinson Joey Robinson

Jackson County Public Schools announced that current assistant principal Joey Robinson has been named the new principal at Smoky Mountain High School. Robinson will step into his new role on July 1. 

After announcing the transition of Principal Evelyn Graning to lead Jackson County Early College, the position at SMHS was posted. An eight-member interview team, consisting of five SMHS staff members and district office personnel, convened. Interviews took place this week and the team selected Robinson with the Board of Education approving the appointment.

Robinson is from Lincolnton, North Carolina, and is the oldest with three siblings. He graduated from Lincolnton High School, where he enjoyed playing football for the Wolves and was on the State Championship team in 1993.

Robinson attended Western Carolina University, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Education degree with a focus in English Language Arts. He was a student teacher at Waynesville Middle School and began working there as an eighth-grade ELA teacher following graduation. He spent four years at WMS teaching and coaching football and baseball while also earning his National Boards Certification during that time.

Robinson next moved to Tuscola High School where he taught ELA, coached multiple sports and served as the assistant athletic director. He and his wife had three boys during his over 14 years at Tuscola, and he was inspired by a former assistant principal, Evelyn Graning, to become an administrator. When a teaching position opened at Smoky Mountain High School, he was excited about the chance to work for Mrs. Graning again. After a year and a half in the classroom at SMHS, he completed his administration degree through WCU and was hired as an assistant principal for SMHS in 2021. During his three years as an assistant principal, he enjoyed working alongside the Mustang staff and students and it has become his home.

“We are blessed to have strong candidates who want to take on the role of critical role principal at SMHS. Robinson’s dedication to SMHS is apparent in his interactions with staff and families as well as his intentional focus on growing academic rigor. The interview team and I are confident he is going to lead SMHS with passion and an unmatched commitment to growth in all areas,” Superintendent Dana Ayers said.

“To be a Mustang is special, and I consider it an honor to have the opportunity to serve in this new role,” Robinson said. “We are blessed with amazing students, staff, and community at SMHS; and I look forward to helping us reach our full potential.”

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