Several Wilkes County school administrative changes were recently approved by the Wilkes Board of Education.

Dr. Westley Wood has been promoted from executive director of personnel and human resources to assistant superintendent of personnel and human resources. Wood has served as an assistant principal and principal at the elementary and middle school levels, and as director of student services during his career with the Wilkes County schools. He began his career here as a math teacher at Mountain View Elementary in Hays in 1999-2001.

Jeffrey Johnson, principal of Central Wilkes Middle School since June 2014, has been promoted to director of testing and accountability. Johnson has served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at the middle and high school levels during his career with Wilkes schools. He is the Wilkes school system’s current principal of the year.

Callie Yates Grubb, principal of Blue Ridge Elementary School in Ashe County since 2012, has been hired by the Wilkes County Schools to be director of pre-k and elementary education. Grubb has twice been named Ashe County School’s principal of the year. Blue Ridge Elementary named a “Leader in Me Lighthouse School of Academic Distinction” in 2018. Grubb previously served as assistant principal at Ashe County High School, as health education coordinator, a teacher and in other positions for the Ashe schools.

Grubb replaces Dr. Susan Blackburn in this position. Blackburn retired this year.

Dr. Donna Cotton, previously director of testing and accountability, was named chief academic officer in February. Cotton will replace Anna Lankford in this role. Lankford retired this year after most recently serving as associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Cotton has been a principal and teacher.

Wilkes School Superintendent Mark Byrd stated, “Dr. Wood, Dr. Cotton, Mr. Johnson and Mrs. Grubb have exhibited the type of servant leadership that we value in the Central Services Department of Wilkes County Schools.”

Byrd added, “While we are losing some very strong leaders to retirement—Anna Lankford, Dr. Susan Blackburn—we could not be any more excited about those moving into their roles. The level of support that our schools, administrators and teachers receive from our office will continue to be strong.  I am excited that these hires will help us to continue to focus on what is best for the students of Wilkes County.”

Byrd said he plans to announce changes in principal positions soon.

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