Byerly moving to middle school

Principal leaving Tharrington

By Jeff Linville - [email protected]


Olivia Byerly has been named the new principal of Mount Airy Middle School.

The city Board of Education approved transferring Byerly from Tharrington Primary School to the middle school to take on the new post after meeting in closed session.

Byerly has been at Tharrington since 2014. Before that she was an assistant principal at the high school for two years.

Carrie Venable, public information officer, said that Byerly was one of 15 qualified applicants for the position, which came open two months ago when Susan Bunch resigned.

Bunch said in February that she planned to take time away from work and focus on future educational opportunities, naming a desire “to grow and serve in another capacity.”

Since the first of March, Jason Dorsett, chief operations officer, has been serving as interim principal, a position he knew well after serving as head of Jones Intermediate before a promotion last summer.

In announcing Byerly’s position, Venable stated, “Her skill set and experiences matched the feedback from the community, staff and students on what they would like to see in the next leader of Mount Airy Middle School.”

“We are excited to announce that Ms. Byerly is the new principal of MAMS,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, school superintendent. “She is not a stranger to our district as she has been a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Her exceptional qualities as a leader and accomplishments from her work have prepared her to be a great fit for Mount Airy Middle School.”

Byerly attended Appalachian State University where she majored in mathematics and secondary education. She received her Masters of Arts in Education from Wake Forest University and her administrative license from Appalachian State. Byerly is working on her Ed.S. in Leadership and School Administration from Appalachian State where, in December, she will graduate having obtained her superintendent’s license.

Prior to becoming an assistant principal, Byerly spent 10 years in the classroom as a high school math teacher. She was teaching there when the high school was given the National Blue Ribbon Award. In 2012, Byerly earned the district’s Teacher of the Year award and was nominated for the Waddill Excellence in Teaching Award at Wake Forest.

In 2016, she was named Principal of the Year for Mount Airy City Schools.

The school district noted that while at Tharrington, Byerly helped implement a dual-language-immersion program and empowered teachers as they grew the Leader in Me program for students.

“I am honored to join the Mount Airy Middle School family,” said Byerly. “I am excited to be a part of all the wonderful things that MAMS has to offer. I look forward to meeting many new faces in the coming days.”

Byerly will work with district and school leaders to facilitate a smooth transition for Tharrington students and families. Chelsy Payne, curriculum facilitator, and Eve Trotter, reading specialist, will share administrative duties until the end of the school year. Jesse Hiatt, director of student services, will be available as an additional point of contact.

Students, families and the community are invited to “Meet the Principal Night” on April 10. This event will be held in the middle school media center at 6:30pm.

Principal leaving Tharrington

By Jeff Linville

[email protected]

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

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