After 14 years of being a proud Falcon, Shannon Auten is leaving West Henderson High and serving as the new principal of Henderson County Early College and Henderson County Career Academy. She is to be replaced by Luke Manuel, the former principal of Hendersonville Middle School. 

A Class of 1995 graduate, Manuel has returned to West for the second time in his career. He served as assistant principal and athletic director in 2013-2014 before becoming principal at Hendersonville Middle.  

“The opportunity to come back to school here, the place that I grew up and I went to high school was just a great opportunity and one that I wanted, “ Manuel said. “I was excited about a new challenge and I really couldn’t pass it off.”

Behind every great principal is a hard-working staff and a supportive student body. Manuel hopes to cultivate strong relationships with both the staff and students and work together to make the upcoming school year as successful as possible. 

“I want to be a servant to the school,” Manuel said. “I want to be a servant to the school and to the students and the staff. And the most important factor here is our students and our staff. That’s what makes the school go and is the culture of the school and the community. I want to be here to support that.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for both staff and students across the country. From online school and alternating days to checking temperatures and staying six feet apart, the 2020-2021 school year will be a tough one to face. 

“We’re working really hard with the district leaders. There are some committees that the principals and athletic directors are on right now to try to see how school might reopen,” Manuel said. “Of course, we’re also waiting on state guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the governor’s office and the General Assembly. So, based on what they decide, we’re going to try to do our best to make it work.”

Despite the obstacles, Manuel plans to do his best to continue Auten’s legacy and make West Henderson a better place. 

“Ms. Auten has done a great job and she’s a great principal,” Manuel said. “I think for me being new here at the high school, I’m going to come in and work really hard. Try to gain people’s respect and loyalty through hard work, but also build on the things that Ms. Auten has already established.”

By: Emily Chambliss, Editor-in-Chief

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