Watauga High School Principal Michael Wyant has been chosen by his fellow principals as the Watauga County Schools Principal of the Year for 2010-11. Wyant’s selection was announced at the high school in a surprise visit by Superintendent Dr. Marty Hemric, Assistant Superintendent Billie Hicklin, Board of Education member Deborah Miller, and Personnel Director Marshall Gasperson.
As Principal of the Year, Wyant will be awarded a check for $500 and a plaque recognizing his selection. The check and plaque will be presented at the October meeting of the Board of Education.
Superintendent Dr. Marty Hemric congratulated Wyant on the award, saying that “he has done an excellent job leading Watauga High School over the past two years. We are very fortunate to have Mr. Wyant’s vision and artisan leadership skills in providing students with maximum opportunities to develop the skills and talents for success in the 21st century. It is a great honor to be chosen as Principal of the Year in Watauga County because we truly have some of the most highly respected principals (as well as other staff) found in education. He is an excellent educational leader and his selection as our Principal of the Year is richly deserved.”
Wyant directed credit for the award toward others saying “this is an honor that reflects on the teachers and other personnel at the high school. They’re the ones who really do all the work.”
Wyant, who is in his third year as principal of the high school, came to that position from his previous role as the director of high schools, driver’s education, and athletics for the Catawba County Schools. He has also served as principal of Bandys High School, principal of CH Tuttle Middle School, and as an assistant principal at Hickory High School and Maiden High School. Wyant is a Catawba County native who earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Appalachian State University. He is currently working on a doctoral degree in educational leadership at Appalachian.
Watauga High School has a record of high student achievement on state test results and on the SAT, as well as strong programs in athletics, the arts, and career and technical education. During Wyant’s tenure, the high school has substantially improved the graduation rate, from 68.5% in 2008 to 82.0% in 2010, well above the current statewide average of 74.2%.
Watauga High School was recognized as a “School of Distinction” for 2009-10, the second highest status available under the state’s school accountability system. A School of Distinction is one where 80-89% of state test results show students have met or exceeded the required levels of proficiency and where students’ annual academic progress meets or exceeds state standards. The high school’s composite proficiency score for 2009-10 was 87.6%, the highest score there in the 15 years since the state instituted the ABC’s school accountability and testing program. The composite score reflects how well students performed on end-of-course tests as well as other measures of student success at the high school.
Watauga High School has an enrollment of 1,420 students. The school opened with new facilities on a new site in August after 45 years at the prior site.