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WNC Business

Dr. John McDaris named HCPS Principal of the Year for 2023-2024

Oct 17, 2023 09:37AM ● By WNC Business

HENDERSONVILLE –  Dr. John McDaris was named the 2023-24 Principal of the Year for Henderson County Public Schools. 

The entire school community lined the driveway as McDaris arrived on campus with a police and fire escort. The Rugby Raider band, cheerleaders, and students added to the excitement with music and cheering. Leading the way to greet him were his wife, three daughters, and parents filled with joy and tears. 

“I am simply overwhelmed by this honor. I consider it a joy and privilege to serve the Rugby students, staff, and community alongside the greatest collection of educators in North Carolina,” said McDaris. “I would like to express my deepest thanks to the Rugby community, the leadership of Henderson County Public Schools, and all of the exceptional principals in our district who I admire and by whom I am continually inspired.” 

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

“We are immensely proud of Dr. John McDaris for being honored as the Henderson County Principal of the Year. His unwavering dedication, innovative leadership, and profound impact on our students and staff make him a standout choice among his peers,” said HCPS Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources W. Scott Rhodes. “This accolade is a testament not just to his hard work, but to the meaningful connections he fosters every day within his school community and his colleagues within the district.” 

Superintendent Mark R. Garrett spoke to McDaris’s leadership. “Dr. McDaris is an outstanding school leader who is more than well deserving of this honor. His commitment to students and passion for public education are evident as he leads Rugby Middle School. He has a vision for the school that is taking it to even greater heights. We are excited to have Dr. McDaris represent Henderson County Public Schools as the Principal of the Year and know he will serve us proudly.” 

McDaris joined Henderson County Public Schools in 2014 as an assistant principal at North Henderson High School, following four years as a social studies teacher in Transylvania County. He later served as the assistant principal and athletic director at West Henderson High School until 2021. Since then, he has been leading Rugby Middle School. 

“Dr. McDaris inspires the students and staff to create a common vision of excellence. He models and facilitates this collaboration in a way that all feel valued and heard. Rugby is thankful for his passionate leadership that has created a safe, nurturing environment for all,” shared Assistant Principal Justin McKenzie. 

McDaris holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences Education and Political Science, a Master’s degree in School Administration, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, all of which were obtained from Western Carolina University. 

Source: Henderson County Public Schools