The Watauga County Board of Education named Leslie Alexander as the new superintendent on Monday after a series of community meetings and interviews. 

Alexander earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree from Appalachian State University and has been a teacher, a school media coordinator, and a principal. She’s currently the chief human resources officer of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. 

But as she introduced herself at the school board meeting, she spoke about her childhood in Kentucky.  

“We were kind of poor, but I didn't know it. It was just a lot of fun. We’d pick plums and make plum jelly or we’d run barefoot through the cornfields," Alexander said. "And that's kind of how I grew up. And I understand some of the struggles of rural life. But I also understand the deep pride that those communities have."

She said she fell in love with Watauga County about 13 years ago. After attending App State football games and spending birthdays in Blowing Rock, she and her husband made the move. Since then, Alexander said she researched and visited every school in the district.

“I do know that to really know a community though, it takes more than driving over their campus, and Googling internet facts," she said. "To really know a community, you have to spend time with people. You have to hear what they're proud of, and you have to hear what their hopes and dreams are for their future.”

Scott Elliott, the current superintendent, announced his retirement back in December after serving the district for about nine years. 

“I don't know the stage of life to compare this to, but for those of you who've had children go on to college or maybe get married, or have a baby, that's sort of how I feel right now," Elliott said. "So I just couldn't be more proud than I am right now, of our school system, and of our board, and of their decision."

Elliott plans to stick around for a few months to support Alexander’s transition.

Amy Diaz covers education for WFDD in partnership with Report For America. You can follow her on Twitter at @amydiaze.

300x250 Ad

300x250 Ad

Support quality journalism, like the story above, with your gift right now.