Owen High welcomes Samantha Sircey as new principal, says goodbye to Meg Turner
Long-time Swannanoa resident Samantha Sircey will return to Owen High this fall as the school's new principal.
Searcy will replace Meg Turner, who is stepping down after 11 years as Owen principal.
Roughly 10 years ago, Sircey taught social studies at Owen for six years before serving as an assistant principal for two more years. Growing up in Buncombe County, Sircey's husband, and then years later her daughters, all graduated from Owen.
After serving as an assistant principal at North Buncombe High for three years, Sircey moved to the middle school before becoming principal at North Buncombe, where she's worked for the past five years.
"I feel like I know the community well but obviously I haven't been in the school in 10 years," Sircey said. "At first it's just going to be a lot of listening to what the teachers and the admin staff and the community push my way and want to see."
In 2009 at Owen, Sircey was teacher of the year. She said it's special for her to return to the school where she taught her last class.
"I'm really excited to be back in this community," Sircey said. "It's a great school, so I know there's not a whole lot to redirect."
Turner plans to work with GEAR UP, Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, a grant program which creates college pathways for rural students. Turner said the program addresses everything to do with college for potential undergrads in rural, mountain communities.
Turner said she hopes to retire in a few years but until then will continue to work in education. She said she's excited to continue serving young people, particularly young students who may not otherwise pursue higher learning.
"It's going to be a shift and a change for me," Turner said. "I'm hoping it will be a much less stressful work situation."
With no students or staff reporting directly to her, Turner said her new role will be an adjustment from being Owen's principal. She said teachers are under "tremendous pressure" due to additional expectations, and everyone involved in the school system requires support from the community.
Turner said she's been fortunate that she's been able to work in an environment where the community is committed to providing support.
"The Swannanoa Valley is an amazing place with incredible people," Turner said. "We are the valley school, and it's been a privilege and an honor to be here."
Ezra Maille covers the town of Black Mountain, Montreat and the Swannanoa Valley. Reach him at 828-230-3324 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please support local journalism with access to more breaking news by subscribing.