Blue Ridge Early College hires new principal

Blue Ridge Early College recently hired Dr. Tracie Metz as the new high school principal. Metz has served as Smokey Mountain Elementary School’s Principal for the past five years and is thrilled to be working with students at the high school level.

“I’m so incredibly excited,” said Metz. “In Pre-K through 8th grade you build the foundation of skills to give students options when they graduate, which is the ultimate goal. Now I’ll have the opportunity to encourage them and foster relationships to help them reach that point.”

Blue Ridge Early College recently hired Tracie Metz as high school principal. Her first official day is July 1.

JCPS Superintendent Dr. Kim Elliott said Metz is an excellent addition to the BREC staff given her experience in rural schools and collaboration with education and donor groups.

“The School Board and I made the offer and we are lucky to have her,” said Elliott. “She works very well with parents, students, teachers, and a variety of other groups all in a collaborative manner. And as the Principal of Smokey Elementary for the past five years she has done an excellent job.”

Metz earned her Undergrad and Master’s degrees from Campbell University and earned her Doctorate from Fayetteville State University. Her first official day is July 1, and said they are no drastic changes on the horizon.

“When you have such a good program in place, I want to just continue to grow upon that vision and provide the support needed,” she said.

Brent Speckhardt has been BREC’s Principal for the past three years and will soon transition to Curriculum Coordinator at Jackson County Public Schools in Sylva.

Brent Speckhardt is leaving Blue Ridge Early College as principal to be the Curriculum Coordinator at Jackson County Public Schools.

“I’m all about growing as a professional, and this is an opportunity for me to contribute to all nine schools in JCPS, I can’t say no to that,” said Speckhardt.

Elliott said Speckhardt’s new role as Curriculum Coordinator will be what she calls working “elbow-to-elbow” with teachers, students, education groups, and he is an excellent choice for the position.

Speckhardt described his new role as a support resource for academic leaders in schools to help them reach their academic goals. However, the transition is bittersweet for him after his time at BREC.

“I’m eager and excited, but I’ll miss so much here,” he said. “The kids, the staff, I think I’ve hired 10 of the 14 staff. They’re my family and I’m going to miss them so much.”

Article and Photos by Brian O’Shea
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