The 2017 Year in Review
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The 2017 Year in Review

The 2017 Year in Review

Happy New Year! As we look forward to the year to come, we look back at all the good that has happened in the past 12 months. Every week during the school year, our Communications team brings you the top stories from around our schools and six districts. We also bring you a Post of the Week, which is a story determined by its popularity and reach on our various online channels. This Year in Review gives you a chance to scroll through memory lane, seeing every Post of the Week of 2017. Thank you for being active in this community and doing your part to make Buncombe County Schools a special place for our students to learn and grow!

After you're done, check out the current stories in the latest edition of the Buncombe County Schools Advantage Magazine!

Best wishes for the new year,
Buncombe County Schools

Firefighters Collect Coats for Oakley Elementary

Operation Warm: AVL Firefighters Collect Coats for Oakley

The Asheville Fire Fighters Association (IAFF Local 332) distributed coats at Oakley Elementary today as part of Operation Warm. Each year as winter sets in, local firefighters deliver warm coats to children in schools across the area.

"This is an opportunity for us to give back to our community," said Mike Marshall, president of the association. "We want to make sure all the kids are warm, healthy, and happy."

TCR Rams Volleyball Players with Former Coach Pam Sizemore

Roberson Alumni Use Hoops to Fight ALS

This Friday, December 22, the Rams' annual alumni game will not only be about tradition and school pride, it was also serve the school's former volleyball coach in her battle against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Thank you for those will be on the court and in the audience, as well as the Asheville Citizen-Times for helping get the word out. We had a number of successful social media features this week, and were touched to see the community's prominent interest in this story about coming together to help one of our own. #WeAreBCS and proud.

Parents and students hold signs as their football heads to the state championship game!

Rockets Rally for Football State Championship

Rocket Drive was lined with supportive staff and students as the A.C. Reynolds High football team left for Durham's Wallace Wade Stadium, the site of the NCHSAA 3AA state title game. They held their handmade signs and cheered as their team left to compete in their fourth state championship game since 2009. Athletes fought hard on both sides of the field, and in the end, the Rockets fell to New Hanover 17-27, but Buncombe County continues to be proud of the way these Reynolds student-athletes represented WNC. The game was broadcast via WMYA-MY40. Also, don't miss the photo gallery by the Citizen-Times, and WLOS' video featuring the drum line and cheerleaders!

Post of the Week

Preparing for Winter Weather

When winter weather is expected, here is one thing you can count on: Buncombe County Schools will be paying very close attention. Because safety is our highest priority when considering school delays and closures, our staff begins discussions about weather issues hours — and even days — prior to a weather event. In fact, we plan ahead to make sure our decision making and communication plans are as efficient as possible, starting this process months before cold weather sets in. So, with so much planning, why does the decision so often need to be made early in the a.m. hours? View and share the Facebook post below, or read the entire article here at!


Post of the Week

W.W. Estes Elementary Gets Thankful

Leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday, the halls of William W. Estes Elementary were adorned with messages of fall and thankfulness. One board included a large number of reasons to be thankful, handwritten and assembled by students. In Ms. Payne and Ms. Hayne's kindergarten classroom, students played the "Turkey Game" and wore their decorations! View our Thanksgiving Week gallery hereor see our social media photos for Emma Elementary and Woodfin Elementary!

Post of the week: A tie!

For the first time ever, we're declaring a tie for the social media Post of the Week! Both posts and stories were very popular and widely read by our community. So, why pick just one when we are all so proud of both of these schools for their great students and staff?!

Cane Creek Band Director Honored
Clif Dodson doesn’t like to “toot his own horn,” but the Cane Creek Middle School band director received a special honor earlier this week. Dodson, now in his 16th year teaching band at Cane Creek, received the Award of Excellence for the Western District of the North Carolina Bandmasters Association.

Gingerbread Engineering in Black Mountain

Black Mountain Primary School students are exploring the world of gingerbread architecture this week and the results are as impressive as they are delicious! The students are planning to compete in next week’s National Gingerbread House Competition at the The Omni Grove Park Inn — a community tradition entering its 25th year.

Post of the Week

Take a Veteran to School Day

Students at William W. Estes Elementary welcomed veterans during Take a Veteran to School Day, organized by Estes, Charter Communications, and The History Channel. The day started with a breakfast get-together for veterans and their families. Then the T.C. Roberson High School chorus sang the National Anthem, and members of the Roberson band led a parade through Estes. Later, veterans toured third- and fourth-grade classrooms to answer student questions. See the Post of the Week above featuring a video of the parade through Estes' halls, see WLOS' coverage of the story, or see our story and photo gallery at!

Post of the Week: Weaverville Elementary

Fall Walk for Young Leaders in Weaverville

Local businesses opened their doors to young leaders when kindergarteners and first-grade students from Weaverville Primary held their annual Fall Walk! It was a chance for students to see the inner workings of the town where their school is located and meet business owners and community helpers like fire fighters and police officers. The students added their own twist to the walk this year, by showcasing all they are learning from the Leader in Me program. See the Post of the Week above or read the story at!


Leicester PE Teacher Wins State Award

Leicester P.E. Teacher Wins State Award

Leicester Elementary students are dancing their way to better health! Their P.E. teacher, Tammy Gregg, has been selected as the 2017 N.C. K-12 Dance Teacher of the Year by the North Carolina Alliance for Athletics, Health, P.E., Recreation, Dance, and Sport Management (NCAAHPERD). At least once a month, Gregg incorporates dance routines into her classes.

National Leaders: BCS Nutrition

We are thrilled that every one of our schools were recognized as national leaders in health and nutrition by the USDA! Additionally, eight of these schools earned the rare Gold Award of Distinction! See the entire list of awards, as well as photos from one of our top-tiered nutrition programs at Emma Elementary.

Post of the Week

Nick Lisenbee: WLOS Player of the Week
As reported by WLOS news: "North Buncombe senior running back Nick Lisenbee has been named News 13 Prep Player of the Week in prep football. Lisenbee rushed for 248 yards on 28 carries and scored 6 touchdowns in the Blackhawks 48-14 win over North Henderson... Lisenbee has gained 2,640 yards in his career." (Photo courtesy of WLOS.)

School Nutrition

BCS a National Leader in School Nutrition
According to the USDA, a Buncombe County School is one of the nation's healthiest places to learn. BCS is receiving attention at the highest levels for its commitment to providing students access to high quality food, excellent service, health education, and proper nutrition. This fall, the system's School Nutrition Department led the charge in earning forty two (42) awards of excellence- one for every school- from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Only 91 such awards were given nation-wide this year. View and share the post above or read the full Top Story.

2018 Teacher of the Year

Meet the 2018 Teacher of the Year! 
It was all about celebrating BCS teachers at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet held at Celine & Co. in downtown Asheville! Elizabeth Love, a 9th grade English teacher at A.C. Reynolds High School, has been selected as the 2018 Buncombe County Teacher of the Year. Brandi Fleckenstein was announced as the recipient of the Ruth Henderson Award. Be sure to watch this special video feature about our 7 district Teachers of the Year which debuted at the awards celebration, as well as this Facebook Live video of the big moment!


Leland Blankenship

Jets Celebrate their Principal of the Year
Enka Middle School principal Leland Blankenship has been named the BCS 2018 Principal of the Year, but he says the school's teachers and staff share the credit.

“I feel like it needs to be considered a team award,” he said. “Our teachers are extremely talented and dedicated. It’s a good feeling that people realize how hard we’re working here. It’s heartwarming and touching.”

Owen High School

\Video: I Am Warhorse!
During the latest Thursday Night Light's broadcast by WMYA/WLOS, the Owen High Warhorses faced a heated matchup with the Blue Devils of Brevard. See the Post of the Week to view the upbeat TV spot that aired during the game! Be sure to stay tuned to WMYA for future televised BCS football games, and remember that you can live stream the games right from your device!

2018 Teachers of the Year

District Teachers of the Year Announced
At last week's Board of Education Regular Meeting, all of our 2018 Teachers of the Year were announced and honored by the Board. Additionally, the much-anticipated opening of the envelopes occurred, where our 7 District Teachers of the Year were revealed. See pictures and the video of this special evening which included a pre-meeting dinner sponsored by our local Neo Burrito restaurant! (Pictured above: Teachers of the Year stand with their principals.)

The BCS Week in Review

Back to School: First Day Photos
Students and teachers quickly got right into the swing of having fun and learning on the first day of school! The BCS community loved the photo galleries posted by schools. Here are just a few of the Facebook galleries we put together: Emma ElementaryEnka HighHominy Valley ElementaryNorth Buncombe MiddleSand Hill-Venable ElementaryWeaverville ElementaryWeaverville Primary, and West Buncombe ElementaryYou may also view the photos at


Post of the Week

Career-Ready Through Summer CTE
Rising ninth-graders attended a CTE Career Pathways Camp at A-B Tech, where they got hands-on lessons in the culinary arts, hospitality industry, carpentry, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. Those skills will empower them to be successful in an increasingly international economy.

Counselors and Social Workers of the Year

Celebrating Counselors and Social Workers
Our Post of the Week reads, "Congratulations to the BCS School Counselors and Social Worker of the Year! These extremely skilled and dedicated Student Services staff have been recognized by their peers for their professional leadership, outstanding programming, and a variety of supports they provide to students, family, and teachers." View the post above or the full article at!

The Class of 2017
A student will never forget walking across the stage to receive a high school diploma! It is also a day of great pride for those working hard to prepare students for their tomorrow. 

This past weekend, a number of BCS high schools held their commencement ceremonies and celebrated their graduating seniors. There was plenty of encouraging buzz on our social media platforms about these events, as well as photos taken by the Citizen-Times. Read this Top Story to easily find the photo galleries and programs for each school's event.

Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus

Introducing the Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus
A bright, sunny day reflected the mood Tuesday as Buncombe County Schools (BCS) and its partners held an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus. The innovative partnership between Eblen Charities, BCS, Asheville City Schools, Buncombe County and the State Employees' Credit Union Foundation provides a “smart housing” option for teachers with rents well below market rate, said Eblen executive director William Murdock.

“We know how many lives in our community all of our educators touch,” he said. “We can’t do many things about their salary, but what we can do is approach the problem from a totally different angle. What we can do is build the Williams-Baldwin Teacher Campus.”

See the ribbon fall after an introduction by Roy Williams via Facebook Live, as well as WLOS' story about the important community event.


Senior Walk

Senior Walk: North Buncombe District (Video)
On May 25th, North Buncombe High School seniors paraded through all of the other schools in the district! These seniors hope to inspire the younger students to work hard in school! You can look through all of the pictures from the day HERE.

Senior Walk

Senior Walk: Owen District (Video)
On May 18, 2017, the graduating seniors of Charles D. Owen High School proudly walked the halls of their former schools, congratulated and cheered on by younger students eager to one day fill their shoes. The seniors visited Black Mountain Primary School, Black Mountain Elementary, W.D. Williams Elementary, and Charles D. Owen Middle School. (Bonus: Also, check out this Facebook Live Senior Walk video at W.D. Williams Elementary!) 

Doris Sellers

Doris Sellers: Reynolds High's NCHSAA Principal of the Year
Principal Doris Sellers has game, according to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA). For her support of sportsmanship, student athletes, and athletic staff in Buncombe County, the A.C. Reynolds High School principal has been named the 2017 Bob Deaton Principal of the Year! This recent honor comes on the heels of Ms. Sellers’ naming as the Buncombe County Principal of the Year, the Region 8 Principal of the Year, and a finalist for the state Principal of the Year.


Teacher Appreciation
This month, we are celebrating our teachers! With Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week back-to-back with Teacher Appreciation Week, there is plenty of encouragement to go around. Join us in taking a moment to thank the educators in our lives. Meanwhile, learn more about what makes a great substitute teacher from this article on Anne Alley of Leicester Elementary, and see how staff are being honored at Emma Elementary! At Fairview Elementary, Caitlin Sullivan (pictured above) is another great reminder of how fortunate we are to have such qualified and dedicated teachers in Buncombe County Schools!

Top Scholars: Owen High

Celebrating Our Graduating Top Scholars
Each year, Buncombe County Schools celebrates the top performing students from each of our high schools during the Top Scholar Awards Banquet. This year's event was held on April 26 and featured keynote speaker Christina Maxwell, a 2012 graduate of A.C. Reynolds High who is currently pursuing her musical theatre career on Broadway. Our event video and full photo gallery are still in production, but this initial Facebook photo gallery was a big hit this week with our online community! (Pictured above are the 2017 Top Scholars of Charles D. Owen High.)


Haw Creek Elementary

Haw Creek's Science Trailblazers
Students at Haw Creek Elementary are taking science outside the classroom as part of a ground-breaking pilot program that is the first of its kind in the nation. Haw Creek teamed up with Kids in Parks (KIP), a program of the Asheville-based Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, to add experiment stations to the school’s nature trails and redesign the trailhead kiosk.

West Buncombe ES

West Buncombe Champions State Odyssey of the Mind Competition
The talented and innovative problem-solvers at West Buncombe Elementary have done it again! For the second time in a row, their Odyssey of the Mind team won the state championship. Learn more and see photos of the competition in the latest Post of the Week.

Jim Lewis

NCAE Asst. Principal of the Year: Jim Lewis, Owen High 
Charles D. Owen High School administrator Jim Lewis has been named the 2017 North Carolina Association of Educators Assistant Principal of the Year! Mr. Lewis was chosen because of his dedication to the teaching profession and to educating all students. Lewis has been an AP at Owen High since 2010.


Video: One Student at a Time
Sparks are flying (literally!) in this latest glimpse into our classrooms across Buncombe County Schools. Based on our current Purpose, Direction, and Belief statements for our schools, this exciting piece shows why our students and teachers are proud to live and learn in Buncombe County. The piece created by our Communications Department represents all six districts of BCS and is narrated by the Erwin District board representative, Mr. Pat Bryant. The video may be viewed above, and has also been shared to Facebook and Twitter. 

Post of the Week

Teacher Feature: Ms. Matus, Oakley Elementary
Ms. Matus, a teacher at Oakley Elementary, is helping students learn about their teeth and how to care for them. But, this class isn’t a usual kindergarten class- these native English-speakers are learning all of this vocabulary in Spanish. Learn all about Ms. Matus's classroom in this Post of the Week!

Mr. Gibson's PE Class

#TeacherFeature: Mr. John Gibson, Black Mountain Primary
If you were a student at Black Mountain Primary, you probably remember PE Teacher John Gibson! Mr. Gibson has taught PE at Black Mountain Primary for 29 years. “When I teach in my gym, I feel like it’s my space. I’m the Walt Disney of my gym. I enjoy that about my job,” he says.

Post of the Week

School Board Tours New Teacher Campus
As reported by the Asheville Citizen-Times: "Buncombe County school board members Thursday got a look inside one of the 24 apartments that are part of a new teacher housing apartment complex near Erwin High School. The new complex is slated to open later this year. It will provide a more affordable housing option for Buncombe County and Asheville City teachers."


Presidents' Day at Black Mountain Primary
Presidents' Day was February 20th. To make the day special, 2nd grade teacher Mr. Lehman of Black Mountain Primary delighted his students (and the online community) by teaching class dressed as Abraham Lincoln!

Post of the Week

BOE Celebrates Bus Driver Appreciation Week
To celebrate #LoveTheBus Month and National Bus Driver Appreciation Week, all BCS Board of Education (BOE) representatives rode buses with students and drivers in their districts. Learn about their experiences in this popular post from last week, as well as view photos along their routes!

Post of the Week

Have you ever seen a drummer play upside down?
At A.C. Reynolds High, the cheerleaders and drum line worked together to create a show to remember during an evening game. While the school's Marching Band shared this video in January on Facebook, it really gained traction this past week, with over 5,000 views to date. Thanks, Rockets, for sharing this entertaining video!

Post of the Week

North Buncombe High Celebrates Global Diversity
North Buncombe High School has recently done some redecorating in their cafeteria, proudly displaying the national flags of every country represented in their student body! This project is the result of the research, work, and fundraising of their AP World History class and the effort has generated a lot of positive buzz in the community.


Week in Review

Mix 96.5 Teacher of the Month: Mr. G from Reynolds High School
Congratulations to Mr. Robert Goodson (aka "Mr. G"), the well-loved theatre arts teacher at Reynolds High School, for being named the Mix 96.5 Teacher of the Month! Click the link to watch as Tammy and Dex surprise him with the good news. (Photo Courtesy of A.C. Reynolds High School.)

Choirs Compete to Sing with Rock Legends

Through January 29, Western North Carolinians are voting for the high school choir that will sing with the legendary rock band Foreigner next month! Currently, five of the seven finalists are from BCS schools, including students from A.C. Reynolds High, Clyde A. Erwin High, North Buncombe High, Owen High, and T.C. Roberson High. Each group has shared a YouTube video for their audition - follow the link above to learn where you can watch them all and vote for your favorite! 

NDA Students

Video: Preparing for Tomorrow

Last week's Board of Education attendees were in for a treat when a new energetic video featuring seven BCS schools was debuted! The special presentation highlighted the great work that students and staff are doing in our districts, as well as the importance of our supportive Buncombe County Commissioners. Two former commissioners were personally thanked- Mr. David Gantt and Ms. Holly Jones- whose decades of support for public education has made a difference in the lives of thousands of young learners.

Outdoor Gear Checkout

Students at Enka High School can check out more than just books at their school library! This unique program grew out of the school's rock climbing club. The school used a grant to purchase backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, and mats. 
Students are able to check out this camping gear, like they would a library book, and use it to enjoy the outdoors! Watch the "Never Stop Learning" segment on WLOS!

The Buncombe County Schools Week in Review highlights some of the important stories making news in our districts and schools each week. When sharing about your BCS school or event on social media, be sure to use #BCS! The Week in Review is created and maintained by the Communications Department:

Stacia Harris
Interim Director of Communications

Benjamin Rickert
Interim Assistant Director of Communications

Communications Dept.

Department of Communications
175 Bingham Road, Asheville NC 28806
(828) 350-2261

Have a story idea? We'd love to hear about it. Email us at

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