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Bruce Drysdale, Etowah get new principals

The Henderson County School Board on Monday authorized new principals at Bruce Drysdale and Etowah elementary schools.

Effective July 1, Jason Joyce will be Bruce Drysdale’s new full-time principal, joined by new Assistant Principal Caroline Henderson. Henderson is currently an instructional coach at the school, and will be filling the AP position vacated by Rod Brown, who is returning to his administrative role at the Innovative High Schools. Joyce has been serving as Upward Elementary’s Principal since 2016. The appointment became necessary when principal Eric Gash announced his plans to run for the 11th Congressional District seat next year. Filing for the 2022 elections is scheduled for December.

Joyce joined the HCPS Family in 2000 as an English as a Second Language teacher at Apple Valley Middle, and became assistant principal and athletic director for North Henderson High School in 2007. In 2013 Joyce moved to Hendersonville Middle, where he served as assistant principal until 2016, when he began leading the Upward Eagles in his current role as principal.

Academic growth at Upward has increased each year under Joyce’s leadership, and in 2017 Upward became a Leader in Me school, where the youth development program continues to nurture a student leadership culture.

“For the 7 or 8 hours kids are with us, I want it to be ‘home.’ That’s exactly why I’m honored and excited to be the Principal at Bruce Drysdale,” Joyce said. “Because I know the staff, students, and community have the same expectation – that school should feel like a safe and caring home.”

At Etowah Elementary School, Amanda Childers has been named the new principal for the 2021-2022 school year. Childers will be filling the office vacated by Matthew Haney, whose new principalship at Flat Rock Middle was announced last month.

Childers began her teaching career in Buncombe County Schools as an intensive intervention Exceptional Children teacher in 2008, and became an EC Curriculum Specialist for the school district in 2015. Childers joined the Henderson County public schools in 2016 as assistant principal at Flat Rock Middle School and moved into the same role at Hendersonville Middle the following year. In 2019, Childers took on the unique role of Small Schools Administrator, performing the administrative duties of an assistant principal for Hendersonville, Atkinson and Etowah elementaries schools.

“I want to continue to strengthen the relationships that I’ve already started at Etowah, and look forward to jumping into the community and building even more connections that benefit Etowah’s students and staff,” Childers said.

Childers holds a masters of teaching in special education from Western Carolina University, and both a masters in school administration and doctorate in educational leadership from Gardner Webb University, where he also earned a masters in school administration.