Dr. Elliott's career began in 1987 when she taught adult education at a local community college. She then transitioned to a K-8 environment where she taught elementary education, special education, arts education, K-2 continuous progress primary, and middle school students. After her time in the classroom, she served as a school-based assistant principal and principal and then assumed the role of Regional Consultant and Teacher Recruitment/Retention Specialist with the NC Department of Public Instruction. She has served two school systems as the K-12 Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and two systems as Assistant Superintendent supporting all departments.
Dr. Elliott was named Director of Rural Education and Teacher Recruitment at WCU in 2005 where she was able to pursue her research interests in teacher recruitment, college access, science education, and educational interventions for students. Dr. Elliott received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education in 1986, Master of School Administration in 2001, Educational Specialist Degree in 2002, and Doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2008, all from Appalachian State University. She has also studied at UNC-Charlotte, Alverno College in Wisconsin, and Western Carolina University.
Dr. Elliott is focused on student success and educational interventions partnered with professional learning communities. She is relationship-driven and believes strongly in the use of collaboration with families and communities to create school systems of excellence.
Mr. Buchanan began his educational career in 2001 teaching social studies at Smoky Mountain High School. He became assistant principal at Scotts Creek School in 2010. He served the district as director of middle and secondary education in 2012 prior to becoming principal at Smoky Mountain High School in 2013. Under his leadership, Smoky Mountain moved into the top 5% of high schools in North Carolina in both academic growth and graduation rate.
Mr. Buchanan completed his Bachelor’s Degree in History from King College in 1999. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education Social Studies in 2001 and a Master’s Degree in School Administration in 2009 from Western Carolina University. In 2017, he received an Education Specialist Degree from Clemson University and will complete his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Clemson in 2019.
Mr. Buchanan received National Board Certification in 2005. He was selected as the Jackson County Teacher of the Year in 2007 and the Jackson County Principal of the Year in 2015. He became assistant superintendent in June 2018.
Superintendent Dr. Kim Elliott said, "Mr. Buchanan is a true asset to Jackson County Public Schools. He shares my vision for safe schools and excellence in teaching and learning. Mr. Buchanan cares deeply about students and their success. Students have always come first and will continue to do so in Jackson County."