Wilkes School Superintendent Mark Byrd recently announced that four schools will have new assistant principals for the 2020-21 school year.

Carol Cleary, assistant principal at Central Wilkes Middle School since 2016, will be assistant principal at Wilkesboro Elementary School. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Lees-McRae College in elementary education. She became an N.C. Principal Fellow at Western Carolina University, obtaining a master’s degree in school administration. Cleary obtained National Board certification as a middle childhood generalist in 2011.

She began her teaching career with the Wilkes schools at Mountain View Elementary in 2006. She also taught at C.B. Eller Elementary and at East Wilkes Middle.

Cleary said, “I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know the students, staff, families and community of Wilkesboro Elementary School. I am excited about all the new relationships and partnerships that will be formed while supporting our students and continuing Wilkesboro Elementary’s tradition of excellence.”

Danielle Dowell, assistant principal at East Wilkes High School the past five years, will be the assistant principal at North Wilkes Middle School. She has a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University in middle grades education and a master’s degree in educational executive leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

She began teaching in 2009 at East Wilkes Middle School. She became assistant principal at Mountain View Elementary in 2012 and held this position at Millers Creek and Wilkesboro elementary schools from 2014-15 and at East Wilkes High from 2015-19.

Dowell said, “I am so looking forward to serving our students and community this year at North Middle. I have been so impressed over the years by what this school has accomplished and what they do for all stakeholders. It will truly be an honor to be there.”

Takiyah McCathern, previously assistant principal at Millers Creek and Wilkesboro elementary schools, will serve as assistant principal at Central Wilkes Middle School. She was an N.C. Teaching Fellow and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in special education, learning disabilities from Appalachian State University.

McCathern obtained a master’s degree in special education from the University of Phoenix. She became an N.C. Principal Fellow at Western Carolina University and graduated with a master’s degree in school leadership. 

She began her teaching career in 2002 and was a special education teacher at Catawba Valley Early College High School, Ellendale Elementary and Wilkesboro and C.C. Wright elementary. She was assistant principal at Millers Creek and Wilkesboro the past two years. 

McCathern said, “I very excited about the opportunity to learn new things, meet new people and impact more children as one of many Falcon leaders. Two of my children were Falcons and I have a current Falcon attending as well. I am excited to join Mr. (Rodney) Graham and Mr. (Mike) Weddington to continue the great tradition of learning that is already established at Central Wilkes Middle School.”

Amy Samples, assistant principal at North Wilkes Middle since 2017, will serve as assistant principal at East Wilkes High. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Lees-McRae College. She became an N.C. Principal Fellow at Western Carolina University, obtaining a master’s degree in school administration. 

Samples began teaching at Ronda-Clingman Elementary in 2000 and also taught for three years at C.B. Eller Elementary. In 2016, she served as a Principal Fellow at Wilkesboro Elementary.

She said, “I am beyond blessed to have been named the assistant principal at EWHS. I am honored and humbled to serve the students, families and staff of the place that means so much to me. I look forward to continuing the greatness that is Cardinal Nation.”

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