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Ashe County Schools announce new superintendent

Adam Orr/AMT
On June 3, the Ashe County Board of Education announced Dr. Ernest "Todd" Holden would become the new superintendent of Ashe County Schools effective July 1.

Originally published: Jun. 3, 2013
Last modified: Jun. 3, 2013

Adam Orr

Following a unanimous vote Monday night, the Ashe County Board of Education announced Dr. Ernest “Todd” Holden as the district’s new superintendent effective July 1.

Holden will replace Interim Superintendent of Ashe County Schools Donnie Johnson, who served the school system from 1999 to 2009, and accepted an interim position until the board selected a replacement for former Superintendent Travis Reeves.

Reeves resigned from the school system as schools’ chief effective Dec. 31, 2012, and left ACS to take the superintendent position with the Surry County School System.

The Board launched its search in February, according to Ashe County Board of Education Chairman Charlie King, and multiple rounds of interviews followed throughout March and April.

“We had 48 completed applications - we had some really good applications,” Ashe County School Board Member CB Jones said. “Of those 48, we interviewed 18, and then we narrowed it down to five. It was an honor to work with this board. We were all on the same page, and what we all wanted was the best for Ashe County...someone that we thought would fit well into the community and would help us move further in the future.”

Ashe County Board of Education Member Dr. Lee Beckworth agreed with Jones and said he enjoyed this interview process more so than the last.

“We all worked together and had the school system in our hearts and tried to find the right person to fit,” Beckworth said. “One of the things we reiterated was how proud and protective we are of our school system and our employees, and we wanted to find somebody that wanted to be in Ashe County.”

Beckworth also said this was the second time Holden had applied to become the district’s superintendent.

“We had the opportunity to hire Dr. Holden the last time,” Beckworth said. “It’s not often you get the chance for a do-over, but I think this time we’re convinced he is the right person for our school system.”

“I am honored to be here...I’m very proud of this,” Holden said. “This isn’t something that I take lightly. It took a lot of prayer and thought and it just feels right. I look forward to working with this county.”

During his first 90 days, Holden said he would be focused on looking, listening, learning and collaborating with students, faculty, staff and administrators, board members and the community.

“That’s what I’m going to strive to do,” Holden said.
Holden, who currently serves as principal at West Iredell High School, will begin his tenure July 1.

Originally from Mississippi, Holden and wife Karen have one son, Zachary, who is enrolled in the education program at Appalachian State University.

During his educational career, Holden has been a teacher, coach, assistant principal, director of high school curriculum and career and technical education and principal according to a release issued by Ashe County Schools on June 3. He received his bachelors, masters and advanced degrees from Appalachian State and his doctorate from Wingate University.

“I fell in love with the mountains when I attended ASU and it’s taken me 20 years to get back,” Holden said. “I’m looking forward to coming to Ashe County.”

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.