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Balfour's Kent Parent named principal of the year

Kent Parent explains the mechatronics curriculum to Henderson County School Board members. Kent Parent explains the mechatronics curriculum to Henderson County School Board members.

Balfour Education Center principal Kent Parent last week was named the 2014 Wells Fargo Principal of the Year for the Henderson County public schools.

"I am humbled and honored to be named the Henderson County Public Schools' Principal of the Year," said Parent, who was chosen by his peers. "This award is a direct reflection of the hard work and dedication from Balfour's instructional staff, support staff, and the students we serve. The changes at Balfour would not have happened without this combined effort. I am also very thankful for the many, many members of the community that have come forward providing group and individual support to our students. Your involvement has had a great impact. Thank all of you for believing in our students."
Under Parent's leadership, Balfour has become a model for integrating courses in careers like early childhood education, firefighting, auto mechanics and mechatronics with degree programs at Blue Ridge Community College. Enrollment has grown from 85 fulltime students to 145 in one year and the graduation rate climbed from 50 percent two years ago to 68.42 percent in 2012-13. Working with BRCC, Parent initiated the Mechatronics Academy and the Firefighter Academy.
"First and foremost, Mr. Parent cares about the students and works diligently to remove barriers that impede their learning, but also challenges them to build a sense of pride, enthusiasm and ownership for their own learning," said Kathy Revis, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
Parent has been with the Henderson County public schools since 2005. He became principal of Balfour Education Center in December 2011. Prior to that he served as an assistant principal at West Henderson High School from 2007-2011; assistant principal at Flat Rock Middle School in 2006-07; and a business education teacher at Balfour Education Center in 2005-06.
Before coming to Henderson County, he taught at Mattamuskeet High School in Hyde County, where he worked from 1997 to 2005 as a alternative school director and taught social studies, business and special education.
Parent has a master's degree from Western Carolina University and a bachelor's degree in history from Worchester (Mass.) State College.
Before he became a teacher, Parent served in the U.S. Army military police in Fort Richardson, Alaska. He also was an Alaska State Park Ranger in Wasilla, Alaska.