Honoring HCPS Teachers of the Year - TribPapers

Honoring HCPS Teachers of the Year

Here are some of the 2023 HCPS teachers of the year. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Hendersonville – One teacher was chosen as the best for each of the 23 HCPS schools. They were honored along with Innovative High School’s Shannon Auten as 2022-23 HCPS principal of the year, at the recent Henderson County Education Foundation’s Education Celebration at Jeter Mountain Farm. AdventHealth Hendersonville is the primary sponsor.

The 23 HCPS schools’ teachers of the year were recently honored. Photo by Pete Zamplas.
The 23 HCPS schools’ teachers of the year were recently honored. Photo by Pete Zamplas.

Here is each HCPS teacher of the year, in alphabetical order of their schools:
Larissa Mitchell (Apple Valley Elementary), Alison Thompson (Atkinson Elem.), Nikki Conti (Bruce Drysdale Elem.), Jennifer Wright (Career Academy), Sheri Ritchie (Clear Creek Elem.), Brittany Garber (Dana Elem.), Thomas Savage (Early College), Alice Abarca (East Henderson H.S.), Brittany Wright (Edneyville Elem.), Cindy Haney (Etowah Elem.), Joanna Leslie (Flat Rock Middle), Jennifer Taylor (Fletcher Elem.), Hadley McCutcheon (Glenn Marlow Elem.), Mary Beth Elliott (Hendersonville Elem.), Adam Johnson (Hendersonville H.S.), Kathleen Purdy (Hillandale Elem.), Michelle Taylor (Hendersonville Middle), Mary Socha (Mills River Elem.), Dylan King (North Henderson H.S.), Sarah Crawford (Rugby Middle), Torey Owens (Sugarloaf Elem.), Jennifer Langdon (Upward Elem.), and Allison Marek (West Henderson H.S.).

The banquet’s main host, former Supt. John Bryant of Pardee UNC Health Care, and others praised the teachers’ dedication, patience, and resourcefulness in getting through to their students.

Dylan King

Since the banquet, an overall HCPS teacher of the year was chosen. He is North Henderson science teacher Dylan King. He enters his 20th year of teaching in HCPS. He switched his career aspiration to teaching when studying biotechnology in college, with a concentration on genetic research. “My passion for genetics extended beyond the lab, and into the realm of sharing knowledge with others.”

NHHS Principal Dr. John Shepard stated, “Mr. King’s unwavering care for his students and commitment to providing the highest quality instruction make everyone around him better.”

King reasons that students learn when presented a clear objective and a path toward attaining it. He mentors other teachers as a “teacher-leader.” He stated, “Creating an environment where teachers can collaborate and support each other is crucial for success.” He is NHHS National Honor Society students’ co-advisor. He and those honor students tutor younger students.

Principal Shannon Auten

Shannon Auten is the 2022-23 HCPS principal of the year. She followed her stint as West Henderson principal in 2016-20 with taking the helm of the system’s two specialty high schools. They are the Career Academy and Early College. They are both housed in Blue Ridge Community College’s Innovative High Schools building.

“She does a masterful job leading two separate schools,” Supt. Mark Garrett stated. “Both recently received high marks on the state accountability system. With her commitment to continuous school improvement and passion for establishing relationships with every person in both her schools, Mrs. Auten is a true force of nature in the world of education.”

Asst. Supt. Scott Rhodes called her a “compassionate and thoughtful leader, who always puts the needs of her students first. Her ability to build positive relationships with students, staff, and the community is one of her greatest assets.” Rhodes oversees Human Resources.

Mrs. Auten started in HCPS as a West guidance counselor in 2006, and was assistant principal in 2011-16. As Shannon Ferretti, she played basketball for Villanova in 1994-99. Her husband, Chad Auten, is principal of Mills River Elementary in West Henderson’s district. They both still often attend West Falcon sporting events.