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Catawba County Schools Announces New Principal, Two Administrative Moves


NEWTON, June 25, 2024 -- Catawba County Schools Superintendent Dr. Matt Stover announced a new principal appointment and two principal moves for 2024-25. Neil Everett was named Principal of Mill Creek Middle School. James Byrd will be taking the helm at River Bend Middle School, and Tashanna Mays will be the Compass Principal/Assistant Director of Behavior Support effective July 1, 2024. The school board confirmed the positions on Monday night at their regular Board of Education meeting. 

Everett headshot

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Neil Everett as the new principal of Mill Creek Middle School. Neil Everett is a proven leader with strong relationship and team-building abilities, bringing a wealth of experience to his new role.

 Everett has been a dedicated member of Catawba County Schools since   2012, where he has served in multiple roles. Most recently, he has been the Assistant Principal at St. Stephens High School since 2018, and additionally served as Athletic Director for the past year. Everett began his career teaching social studies and coaching multiple sports at Maiden   High School.

 A graduate of Richmond Sr. High School, Everett earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a Master’s degree in Executive Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

Upon his appointment as Principal of Mill Creek Middle School, Everett said, “I am extremely humbled and honored to serve the staff, students, and families of Mill Creek. I look forward to working with this dedicated community to grow successful leaders of tomorrow.”


Byrd Headshot

James Byrd will assume the principal role at River Bend Middle School. Byrd earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Western Carolina University in 2001, a Master of Arts in English Education from Appalachian State University in 2008, and completed his administrative licensure through Gardner-Webb University in 2013.

Byrd has 12 years of experience teaching English at North Wilkes High School (2001-2010) and Bunker Hill High School (2010-2013). He then transitioned into administration, serving as Assistant Principal at North Wilkes Middle School (2013-2017) and Bunker Hill High School (2017-2023), and most recently as Principal at Mill Creek Middle School (2023-2024).

Of the move, Byrd notes, “Middle school, to me, is an extremely important time in young people's lives. What happens during those two short years can greatly impact their future education and careers. My goal as principal at River Bend Middle School is to work with the staff to ensure our students are taking the right steps toward success. I want to build upon the foundations from Claremont, Lyle Creek, Catawba, and Oxford elementary schools to create the bridge to Bunker Hill High with all students aiming to earn a diploma." 

Byrd is supported by his wife, Sarah, a teacher at Saint Stephens, and their daughter, Sadie, a rising seventh grader. He enjoys hiking on the NC Mountain-to-Sea Trail, reading graphic novels and fiction, and has a passion for track and field, wrestling, football, and trivia games.


Mays Headshot

Tashanna Mays will serve as the new Assistant Director of Student Behavior Support and Principal of Compass Academy. Mays has served as Principal at River Bend Middle School since 2019 and has been a Regional Coordinator for the North Carolina Middle-Level Education (NCMLE) since the same year. She has also held positions as Assistant Principal at both John F. Matherly School and River Bend Middle School. Mays holds certifications in  Math, English Language Arts, Science, and Social Studies, as well as a background in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) Her expertise in PBIS has been instrumental in creating supportive and effective learning environments that foster student success and well-being.

Mays earned a Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education from Lenoir-Rhyne University and a Master’s degree in Executive Leadership from Gardner-Webb University.

Upon her appointment to the new position, Mays said, “Although it is bittersweet to leave a school and community that I adore, I am elated about this new opportunity, which allows me to make a significant impact by helping students overcome challenges and reach their full potential. As Lady Bird Johnson said, 'Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.' I am eager to apply my skills and passion to create a positive and supportive environment where all students can flourish and believe in themselves.”