Chad Auten Named 2017-18 HCPS Principal of the Year

Chad Auten fistbumps student

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 15, 2017) – Chad Auten, principal at Mills River Elementary, was named the 2017-18 Principal of the Year for Henderson County Public Schools this morning. He was surprised with the news in front of the entire student body in a staged assembly, where he gave credit to his school family.

“I’m Principal of the Year because of the teachers that are here, and the students that are here,” Auten said, addressing the school. “I feel blessed every day to come to work with you guys.”

Each school year, the Principal of the Year is nominated by and voted on by his or her peers – the other 22 principals in the Henderson County Public Schools system, giving special significance to the designation.

“It’s an awesome group of principals I work with – the best in the state,” Auten said. “So it’s quite an honor to be chosen by them.”

In his fifth year as principal at Mills River Elementary, Auten has fostered a sense of community among his students, staff, and Falcon parents, who describe the school on social media and in the hallways with #ThePlaceToBe.

“Mr. Auten is a dedicated and passionate leader who loves his students, staff, and community,” said Chief Human Resources Officer Scott Rhodes. “He has created a school culture where all stakeholders take pride in making Mills River Elementary #ThePlaceToBe.”

Auten joined Henderson County Public Schools in 1998 as a Career & Technical Education teacher at Apple Valley Middle after graduating from Illinois State University, and taught for six years before being named assistant principal at West Henderson High in 2004. After three years at West, Auten became principal at Edneyville Elementary in 2007, and remained there for six years. In 2013, he became principal of Mills River Elementary, where he’s served ever since.

In addition to his undergraduate degree, Auten holds a Masters in School Administration from Western Carolina University.

At Friday’s assembly, Mills River Elementary’s data manager, Nita Owens, reminded students that as they practice the leadership habits they’re learning in Franklin Covey’s The Leader In Me, they should watch how their principal speaks and acts.

“As we are learning our 7 Habits, we have no further to look for a role model than Mr. Auten,” Owens said.

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