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'Celebrating 30 Years TOGETHER' commemorates school merger

Thirty years ago, city and county school systems merged to form Henderson County Public Schools, a consolidation that school leaders are commemorating with events, a new website and a new logo.

“Celebrating 30 Years TOGETHER” honors the collaborative work within HCPS that has propelled it to be one of North Carolina’s leading public school districts with innovative student opportunities, talented and dedicated staff, award-winning schools — and a proud community. Current and former students, families, and staff are encouraged to participate in “Celebrating 30 Years TOGETHER” by visiting the 30th Anniversary website,, and sharing pictures and videos of their journeys through HCPS on social media with the hashtag #HCPS30YearsTogether or #HCPS30.

Although education in Henderson County dates back as far as 1797 to Mills River Academy’s one-room schoolhouse, the school district that currently educates more than 12,500 students was officially formed in 1993 whennHendersonville City Schools and Henderson County Schools merged.

Since then, HCPS student enrollment has grown by 20 percent and become the largest employer in Henderson County. The district has multiplied and diversified its educational opportunities for students and broadened its impact on families through an expanded network of services and supports.

Over the years, HCPS students have benefitted from elevated programming and services, including the Spanish dual language immersion program at Bruce Drysdale Elementary, grade-level outdoor education and water safety programs, school-based health centers, robotics teams, robust work-based-learning opportunities and apprenticeships through local industry partnerships, universal no-cost meals during the school year, and “Meals on the Bus” mobile feeding sites in the summer.

Today, HCPS includes 23 schools, 11 of which have been built or renovated in the last 30 years. This includes the Innovative High School established in 2017 on the campus of Blue Ridge Community College, home to the Career Academy and Early College. Thirteen HCPS schools implement the Leader In Me whole-school student leadership model, including first high school in North Carolina to earn the Lighthouse School designation by FranklinCovey Education.

With exceptionally high student graduation rates and a nationally recognized percentage of teachers that are National Board Certified, HCPS has demonstrated a history of growing dedicated leaders at both the student and professional levels.

Since 2010, HCPS has been home to four Western Region Principals of the Year (2010, 2015, 2016, 2022) and one North Carolina Principal of the Year (2010) through the Wells Fargo North Carolina Teacher of the Year Program, and a North Carolina Regional Teacher of the Year for the Western Region (2022).

“There is a rich history of education in Henderson County that we all benefit from and share," Superintendent Mark R. Garrett said. "The merger of Hendersonville City Schools and Henderson County Schools in 1993 is the watershed event that created Henderson County Public Schools, laying the foundation for the many successes over the past 30 years. We want the community to celebrate alongside us as we honor our past and focus on our future."