Mark Garrett, superintendent of McDowell County Schools, will leave that role to lead Henderson County Public Schools on July 1.
The announcement came after a special-called meeting of the Henderson County Board of Education on Thursday.
“We are thrilled to have someone with such an exceptional level of experience choose to lead in Henderson County,” said School Board Chair Blair Craven. “We welcome Mr. Garrett into the HCPS Family, and are excited to see how his expertise in public K-12 leadership will continue strengthening our already esteemed school communities.”
Craven and his board noted that during Garrett’s tenure, McDowell experienced its highest graduation rates, lowest dropout rates, and lowest teacher turnover rates in district history, as well as exceptional academic growth.
Terry Frank, chairman of the McDowell County Board of Education, said Garrett will remain in his current role until July 1 and the search for an interim will begin immediately. Frank said the board may choose to wait until after the November election to select a permanent replacement because the makeup of the board will be different.
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“Though I am saddened by the loss of Mr. Mark Garrett, I am happy for his new position and adventure in Henderson County,” Frank said in a statement to The McDowell News. “The board knew with all of Mr. Garrett’s accomplishments and his notoriety across the state of North Carolina in the education circles that our system would have to contend with offers from other systems to try to hire him. We are all blessed with having him here as long as we did. I am just grateful that he will still be in western North Carolina. He will be truly missed and a challenge will be presented to try to replace him.
(To read Frank’s statement in its entirety, scan the QR code accompanying this story or go to mcdowellnews.com)
Though I am saddened by the loss of Mr. Mark Garrett, I am happy for his new position and ad…
Frank praised Garrett’s management style, his work with the community and his efforts to put children first.
“This allowed numerous opportunities for students that they hadn’t had the opportunity to experience before,” Frank said. “He treated students fairly and tried to find challenges and rewards for different lifestyles they have. He expanded the system to four very unique high school choices. He initiated Foothills Community School as well as leading the change to a middle school system away from junior highs. All come with challenges, but Mr. Garrett always had a calming effect on the waters so the sailing was usually smooth.”
Garrett will replace John Bryant, becoming the seventh superintendent of Henderson County Public Schools.
Garrett’s move takes him to a larger community. Henderson County has a population of 120,168 compared to McDowell’s population of 46,629.