McDowell County Schools

Skip to main content
Main Menu Toggle
Students on Wright Flyer Model

WMMS at the Outer Banks

students with race bibs

North Cove Run Club about to race in the Old Fort Super Leader 5k

East McDowell Middle School students at the Outer Banks


13 Teachers holding flowers

Teachers of the Year

high senior giving high fives to elementary students

Class of 2018 Senior Walk at Eastfield Global Magnet School

about 40 teachers with awards

Teachers whose students achieved growth in the top 25% in North Carolina.

Superintendent's Message

Superintendent Mark Garrett Behind Desk
On behalf of the Board of Education and our family of educators, I want to welcome you to McDowell County Schools. Our district is made up of fourteen schools and is fully accredited. We also have a Head Start program and NC Pre-K classrooms to serve community pre-school needs.  This means we have the great pleasure of serving students as young as six weeks of age all the way up to high school seniors.
We are excited about the accomplishments of 2017-18.  State accountability results are up. On-time graduation rates are at record highs.  Dropouts are decreasing. Students are earning both academic and industry credentials with many completing internships across the region.  Staff turnover is among the lowest in the state. Buses safely travel over 750,000 miles each year. School cafeterias serve more than 1.3 million meals annually.  And these are but a few examples of the successes taking place all across McDowell County Schools. We look forward to even greater things in 2018-19.
Please take time to explore our website to learn more about us.  I encourage you to check back frequently to keep up with McDowell County Schools news and events.  You can also see great things taking place in our schools by following us on our social media platforms:
Twitter: @mcdowell590
We invite you to partner with us to make McDowell County Schools the absolute best place for education.
Mark R. Garrett

News & Announcements

Eastfield Principal Michelle Baker Named NW Region Principal of the Year

Michelle Baker with Husband

Michelle Baker, principal of Eastfield Global Magnet School and current McDowell County Principal of the Year, has been named the 2019 Northwest Region Principal of the Year. Baker was notified today during a school-wide surprise celebration that included all students and staff at Eastfield, Board Chair Terry Frank and Board member Brian Piercy, Superintendent Mark Garrett and other district staff, NW Region representative Dr. Monica Shepherd, and 2018 NW Region Principal of the Year Desarae Kirkpatrick (of Nebo Elementary). Of note, the MCS Principal of the Year has been named the NW Region winner in back to back years. Students and staff filled the gym and took turns congratulating their principal. Baker was overcome with tears by the news as she addressed her students and staff: “I am so proud to be your principal, and this honor belongs to each and every one of you. I love watching you learn!”

Baker began her career in education in Charleston County, SC in 1992 as an elementary grades teacher. She spent the next 14 years as an elementary teacher in Beaufort County, SC, Craven County, NC, and Escambia County, Florida. She was named her school’s Teacher of the Year in 1994-95 (Charleston SC), 1999-2000 (Beaufort SC), and 2005-06 (Escambia, FL). During this time she was also certified by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

In July 2006, Ms. Baker was hired as a 5th Grade teacher at Eastfield Global Magnet School and served in that role until 2011. In October 2011 she was reassigned as an instructional coach for the district and served in that role until 2013. In June 2013, Ms. Baker was promoted to her current position as principal at Eastfield Global Magnet School.

Baker earned her BA degree in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina in May of 1991. She earned a Masters degree in Special Education-Learning Disabilities from the University of Charleston in May of 1995. She completed her Education Specialist degree at Appalachian State in 2013.

Superintendent Mark Garrett had strong words of praise for Baker: “we are not surprised that Michelle has been selected as the NW Region Principal of the Year. Her passion for her students and staff is obvious to anyone who has enjoyed the opportunity to work with her. In each of her assignments in MCS her students and colleagues have demonstrated academic and professional growth. We are very proud of her as our representative for McDowell County, and now also as she follows Desarae as the winner for the NW Region.”

Baker will compete against principals from each of the 8 regions for the honor of 2019 State Principal of the Year later in the school year.

Camp Invention is returning to McDowell County Schools!

Camp Invention takes summer fun and transforms it from ordinary to extraordinary!

In partnership with the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Pleasant Gardens Elementary School is pleased to offer the nationally acclaimed Camp Invention program to children entering grades K-6. It’s an exciting, weeklong summer adventure with lessons that explore connections between science, technology, engineering and innovation. Children will work together to seek solutions to real-world problems and sharpen critical 21st century learning skills while rotating through several fascinating modules. The week begins on July 9, 2018 with the Fast Forward™ program!

Here is how young innovators will be spending their time:

Dreaming up and designing their very own futuristic smart home filled with gadgets, LEDs, technology and innovation
Using tools to take apart robotic dogs and compare their inner mechanics to the anatomy and physiology of a real dog
Designing tracks for their Optibots to follow while exploring different modes of transportation
Exploring chemistry, non-Newtonian fluids and magnetism as they investigate magnetic slime

All activities give participants the opportunity to explore, discover and achieve while having fun!

Local educators will facilitate program modules and enthusiastic high school students will serve as Leadership Interns, ensuring that one staff member is in place for every eight children.

Every registration includes a complimentary Camp Invention t-shirt. Availability is limited, so visit or call 800.968.4332 to secure your child’s spot today!

Hydromaniacs Robotics Team win the 2018 Middle School Champions Award at the RoboFest 2018 State Championship

The Hydromaniacs robotics team from the Foothills Community School competed in the RoboFest 2018 State Robotics Championship in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, May 5, 2018.

The Hydromaniacs won the Middle School Champions Award at the RoboFest 2018 State Championship. They successfully competed against 34 of the top elementary and middle school robotics teams from all across the state of North Carolina.

Congratulations to the Hydromaniacs robotics team!!

Angela Autrey of McDowell HS Named Teacher of the Year

Superintendent Mark Garrett is pleased to announce that Angela Autrey has been selected as the 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year for McDowell County Schools. Ms. Autrey is on staff at McDowell High in the Science department. Additionally, Samantha Hartley Hunt has been named the Elementary Teacher of the Year. Ms. Hunt teaches 3rd Grade at Eastfield Global Magnet School. Ms. Autrey was in tears upon the news and received a hug from each of her 2nd period students as they departed the classroom. She shared “McDowell County is blessed to have so many hard working, deserving teachers. I am so humbled to be representing such a wonderful group of educators.”

Superintendent Garrett and members of the district staff visited McDowell High and Eastfield Global Magnet today to make the announcements in front of Ms. Autrey’s and Ms. Hunt’s students and colleagues. All of the 14 school winners were honored at the annual Teacher of the Year Banquet last night at the Marion Community Building, which was sponsored again this year by Wells Fargo Bank. Garrett shared with the guests at the banquet, “Everyone here is deserving of this honor. I want all of you to enjoy tonight’s celebration because, no matter who is announced tomorrow, you are all worthy.”

The faculty at each school in the district selects a school winner each year as part of the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Teacher of the Year process. Each school winner is then judged based on professional portfolio, classroom visit, and an interview with the district selection committee. The district honors an Elementary and a Secondary Teacher of the Year. One of those two is selected as the MCS Teacher of the Year and represents the district at the Regional level.

Ms. Autrey began her teaching career in 1990 at West McDowell Junior High and moved to McDowell High in 2005. She currently teaches Advanced and AP Chemistry, Honors Biology, and Standard Biology. Autrey also serves on the School Improvement Team and the MTSS committee for MHS. She earned her BS degree in Biology and HS Science from Appalachian State in 1989.

Ms. Hunt earned her BS degree in Elementary Education in 2008 and earned her Masters degree in Elementary Education in 2011, both from Appalachian State. She joined the staff at Pleasant Gardens in 2012 as a Kindergarten teacher. She was reassigned to the staff at Eastfield in 2013. Hunt’s students danced with joy as she told them “this happened because you all are such a great class! Thanks for working so hard and being so awesome!”

Ms. Autrey will represent the district at the Regional level in November.

2018 - 2019 Teachers of the Year

We are pleased to announce the 2018-19 McDowell County Schools Teachers of the Year. The following teachers (in last name alphabetical order) have been chosen as school winners by their respective faculties:

Angela Autrey, MHS
Ashley Bagwell, Nebo
Michael Caparaso, West Middle
Marlean Duncan, Pleasant Gardens
Amy Goodson, AEC
Samantha Hunt, Eastfield
Krissy Loftis, Marion
Stevie Mathis, MEC
Tracey Moss, North Cove
Ruth Pershing, East Middle
Erin Rayfield, West Marion
Rebecca Shuford, Old Fort
Sherry Truesdell, Glenwood
Michelle Tyler, FCS

Congratulations to all!

Show All News »


Events Photo
No School-Holiday
Date: 1/21/2019
No School-Teacher Workday
Date: 1/22/2019
McDowell County Board of Education Meeting
Date: 2/11/2019, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM
Location: 334 S Main Street, Marion NC 28752
McDowell County Schools Got Talent!
Date: 2/22/2019, 6 PM 8 PM
Location: East McDowell Middle School, 676 State St, Marion, NC 28752, USA
McDowell County Board of Education Meeting
Date: 3/11/2019, 6:30 PM 8:30 PM
Location: 334 S Main Street, Marion NC 28752