Editor's note: This story has been updated to include additional information on the selection of an interim superintendent for ACS, as well of Dr. Taylor's acceptance of a position with Stokes County Schools.
NEWLAND — Avery County Schools Superintendent Bryan Taylor announced his resignation as a personnel matter during the closed session of the Avery County Board of Education’s meeting on the evening of Tuesday, June 11.
Taylor sent out a district-wide internal email on Wednesday morning, June 12, to announce the resignation. The body of the email read:
“After much thought and prayerful consideration, I have decided to resign as Superintendent of Avery County Schools. The unexpected death of my father and unexpected health issues have led me to reevaluate various aspects of my life. I am very proud of the achievements we accomplished during my tenure. Thank you for all you do for the young people of Avery County. I wish you the best moving forward.”
Taylor said the date he will be leaving is not set, and he will be helping the district transition to new leadership.
Taylor was hired by the BOE in March 2018 and has accrued a handful of achievements in the past year, most notably righting the district's budget and spearheading a major renovation and construction project at the high school.
Before Taylor’s first involvement with the budget process last year, the system had been spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each year out of its fund balance to make ends meet. Since Taylor was hired the district has been able to begin replenishing the near-depleted balance.
The high school project had been a point of contention in the county for nearly a decade, with other plans arriving and failing. The current project did face some controversy with an increased cost estimate earlier this year, yet bids for the project came in several million dollars less than what was anticipated, and the county moved forward with the $20 million project.
Taylor was also heavily involved in crafting a new strategic plan for the district.
“We didn’t have any clue until yesterday he was thinking about it,” ACS Board of Education Chair John Greene said on June 12. “He’s done a tremendous amount in a short amount of time, and when he came here we asked him to do some certain things. He did that and above and beyond.”
Greene said the board wishes Taylor the best and the announcement was bittersweet, adding that Taylor does every task with full intensity.
“If he hadn’t done an excellent job that would be a different story, but he did,” Greene said.
In an internal email addressed on Thursday, June 13, to ACS staff, Greene added that the system has opted to rehire Bill Miller as the system's interim superintendent while the search process for a full-time replacement takes place.
Miller previously served ACS as interim superintendent from Dec. 6, 2017, until Taylor began his tenure on March 26, 2018. Prior to his arrival in Avery, Miller served as superintendent of Polk County Schools for 13 years. Miller has been employed in education as a basketball coach and teacher, in addition to working as assistant director with Western Regional Education Service Alliance.
Taylor said one of his main goals during his tenure at ACS was to improve the lives of the students he serves, and he believes he has had a positive impact during the time with the system.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the people that I work with,” Taylor said. “The staff here at the central office are second to none. I’ve spent more time with these folks than my own family.”
Taylor also expressed his thanks to the BOE for the opportunity to serve and the commissioners for support.
Taylor came to ACS from Surry County Schools.
Taylor told The AJT on June 12 that he could not reveal his future plans at this point, but will when he has more to announce.
“This was not a decision I made lightly,” Taylor said.
According to a press release from Stokes County Schools on Thursday, June 13, Taylor has reportedly been hired by that system to serve as assistant superintendent, replacing former assistant superintendent Tony George, who served in the position until his retirement on March 1.
“Hiring a quality professional like Dr. Taylor is a ‘win’ for Stokes County Schools," Stokes County Schools Superintendent Dr. Brad Rice stated in the release. "He has an impeccable reputation and has been an asset to every district he has served. Stokes County is lucky to have someone with the experience and professionalism of Dr. Taylor join our team.”
“I would like to say thank you to Dr. Rice and the Stokes County Board of Education for this opportunity," Taylor said in the SCS press release. I am very excited about working with Dr. Rice and the staff of Stokes County Schools moving forward."