McDowell County Public Schools Home Page
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On Monday, July 27th, will we migrate to the new McDowell County Schools website. We may experience down time as we transition to a new provider.  Please check our Facebook page for updates during the transition.

You can get a sneak peak at​ Please don't bookmark this site.  Our address will remain
Upcoming Events
Repeating EventGEN - Cabinet Meeting
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Repeating EventGEN - i2i STEM Training
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Repeating EventGEN - i2i STEM Training
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Repeating EventGEN - i2i STEM Training
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Repeating EventGEN - i2i STEM Training
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Welcome to McDowell County Schools
INSPIRING SUCCESS: Student-centered, Mission-driven

The McDowell County School System is located in the foothills of beautiful Western North Carolina, about 30 miles east of Asheville. McDowell County Schools consist of 13 schools (one high school, one early college, one alternative education center, two middle/junior high schools, eight elementary schools) and nine pre-school sites. The school system has approximately 6,500 students, nearly 1,000 employees, and around a $55 million budget.

Mission Statement
The mission of McDowell County Schools is to deliver excellence in education where all are engaged in collaboration, communication, and innovation so that every student graduates ready to achieve success and positively shape the future.


Substitute Teachers
Board Approves McDowell Native Edwin Spivey as MHS Principal
Superintendent Mark Garrett is very happy to announce that McDowell native Edwin H. Spivey III will be the next principal of McDowell High School. The Board of Education approved Spivey this evening at its regularly scheduled meeting for July. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to come home to McDowell High School” said Spivey. He added “I know that we can achieve great things for the students of McDowell County.”
Spivey graduated from McDowell High in 1988. He then attended Appalachian State University and graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science degree in History and a minor in Business Administration. Upon graduation he worked as a sales representative for copiers and other office equipment in the Asheville area. He began his education career in 1999 as a Social Studies teacher and Golf coach at McDowell HS. He earned his Masters of School Administration in 2002 from Western Carolina University. In 2005 he moved into administration as Assistant Principal at AC Reynolds HS in Buncombe County. He has served as the principal of Enka High School in Buncombe County since 2010.
Superintendent Garrett is confident that Mr. Spivey is the right fit for McDowell High. He stated, “Edwin has the experience and background that we need to move MHS forward. His passion for student learning and staff team building is obvious, and I am excited for the students, parents, and staff of MHS, as well as our entire MCS community.”
Including his time as a teacher, AP, and principal, Spivey has a total of 16 years as a high school educator. According to Garrett, Spivey will wrap up his duties at Enka and will assume his new role in a couple of weeks, “We anticipate Mr. Spivey being with us in early August.”  
State Board of Education Approves Bus Safety Policy Revisions
In the 2014-15 academic year alone, five North Carolina students were injured by motorists passing stopped school buses. That is one reason why the N.C. State Board of Education has revised its bus safety policy to require a standard hand signal bus drivers will use to tell students when a street is safe to cross. The Board approved the revision at its meeting held via conference call on July 9.  

Drawing from national procedures as well as school bus safety standards and practices from across the country, the revised policy will require drivers to use a standard hand signal that tells students a roadway is safe to cross. The hand signal has three steps. First, the driver holds up his or her palm facing the student until it is safe to cross. Second, the driver gives a “thumbs up” to the students. For the third step, the driver points with his or her index finger the direction in which the child should proceed across the street. This will empower the driver, usually the single school system employee on the scene, and it will compel students to consciously assess the roadway by looking at their bus driver before stepping into an active street. For a graphic presentation of this new signal, visit
Gouge Appointed Director of Student Services; Search for Next MHS Principal is Underway
McDowell High School will have a new principal for the coming school year. Current MHS principal Natalie Gouge will begin her new assignment as Director of Student Services effective 1 August. In her student services role Gouge will address issues such as guidance services, student health services, psychological services, social work services, homebound services, Section 504, and other student related services. According to Superintendent Mark Garrett, “The student services role has been unfilled in the district for several years, and related duties have been covered by different staff sections.” He added, “We believe we can better serve our students’ needs and enhance their opportunities for success by consolidating these student related services under one director.” 

Ms. Gouge has served as Principal of McDowell High since March 2013. She has served in various roles in the district for the past twenty-four years. Ms. Gouge earned teacher licensure in 1991 and began as a part-time language arts teacher at East McDowell Junior High. In 1992 she was reassigned as a classroom teacher at Old Fort Elementary where she would serve for twelve years. In 2004 she was reassigned as the Teacher Support Coordinator. In December 2005 Gouge was appointed Assistant Principal at West Marion Elementary. In February 2008 she was promoted to Principal at West Marion, and served in that role for the next four years.  In August 2012 she was reassigned as an assistant principal at McDowell High, and was elevated to the principal’s role at MHS in March 2013. 

Superintendent Garrett is confident that Ms. Gouge is the right fit for her new role. He stated, “Natalie has the experience we need to optimize services for our students from Pre-K through graduation, and I am excited about the possibilities.” Gouge remarked that she “has been blessed to be able to work many years at the K-6 level along with her recent time at the 9-12 level.” She went on to say that she has “seen the scope of the curriculum, resources and services throughout the K-12 range,” and she hopes to “be able to use (her) knowledge, skills and experiences to support our students, schools and community.”

The search for the next principal at McDowell High is already underway. According to Garrett, “We hope to have the new principal in place by early August, but it is most important that we find the absolute best principal available for McDowell High.” 
Operation Backpack
The 2015-2016 school year is the 17th year that Operation Backpack has provided school supply assistance to students.  The project, which relies on donations from the community, outfitted over 600 students during Summer Distribution.

Link to PDF Flyer
This assistance was only possible because we live in such a giving and caring community!  THANK YOU!
New and Returning Substitute Teachers
MCS is in the process of changing the summer substitute training for new and returning substitutes to an online course.  Additional information will be posted on the website as soon as possible.  Returning substitutes will be notified via phone, email and/or letter.  New substitutes need to call 828-652-4535 x0.
Summer Lego Camp

Bricks 4 Kidz is bringing a summer LEGO camp to Old Fort/Marion this summer!!

Join us for a week of Lego Brick-A-Palooza, filled with fun and learning!
Campers can choose either the 9am-12pm camp or the 1pm-4pm camp. (both camps will be the same).

CAMPS ARE THE WEEK OF AUGUST 10-14, and will be held in the media center at Old Fort Elementary School.

Kids will spend their days doing all things LEGO. Camps are for both boys and girls. Campers will enjoy Lego free building, Lego Ninjago, Lego race cars, Lego movies, mosaics, 3D Builds, Lego sets (including Lego Friends), crafts and more!!

These camps are for children who are rising 1st graders and up. Camp is led by a certified teacher.

Register online at: and click on “view classes” to search for Brick-A-Palooza Marion Camp!​

Cost is $125 for the week. 3 hours a day/5 days
Email with any questions.

Link to Flyer (PDF)
MY Health-e-Schools

MY Health-e-Schools is improving access to healthcare for students in McDowell County through telemedicine. The technology is based on high-definition videoconferencing using specially equipped stethoscopes and cameras so that a centrally located health care provider can examine students at multiple schools without traveling. We collaborate with primary care physicians to provide many services, including addressing acute issues such as the common ear ache or stomach ache, chronic disease management, medication management, well-child check-ups, sports physicals, adolescent medicine consultations, and telepsychology / telebehavioral health.​

Recently, Heather Ray, the School Nurse at West Marion Elementary, and the telemedicine program was featured in The Duke Endowment.


You can read the story here:

You can also read the story that appeared in the McDowell News here:
You can read more about the telemedicine program, including how to enroll, at
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