Dr. Auton named Assistant Superintendent

Dr. Auton named Assistant Superintendent of Burke County Public Schools
Posted on 08/16/2021
Morganton, NC – Monday, Aug. 16, 2021

The Burke County Board of Education has selected Dr. Karen Auton to serve as assistant superintendent of Burke County Public Schools effective Sept. 1, 2021. Auton’s selection as assistant superintendent makes her the first female assistant superintendent in Burke County Public Schools history.

Dr. Auton said, “I am humbled and honored to not only move into the role as assistant superintendent, but also to be the first female assistant superintendent in Burke County Public Schools. We have some awesome leaders in our district, many of which are women. It is great to know that the Burke County Board of Education and our district recognize the value and contributions of women in leadership roles. My hope is to be a positive ambassador for women in leadership across all sectors of our community.”

Superintendent Dr. Mike Swan said, “I am excited to have Dr. Auton as our assistant superintendent. She brings a vast background of classroom teaching, curriculum knowledge and administrative leadership to this role. She is from Burke County, is a product of Burke County Public Schools and is now raising her own family here. She has a calm demeanor and a servant’s heart but is tough when it comes to doing what is right for children. Her passion for seeing that kids get a quality education in a safe and nurturing environment has earned her respect from colleagues, parents and students. Not only is she focused on ensuring all students learn, she is passionate about building capacity in the educators responsible for teaching them.”

Auton said, “I do strive to be a servant leader and work to model that leadership style for other leaders in my care. We are here to first serve students and families, but also to serve the teachers, principals and all staff. When our staff is cared for, our students will be better cared for.”

Auton started her teaching career in 2004 after graduating from UNC-Asheville with a bachelor’s of science in psychology and elementary education. She began principal career in 2010 after graduating with a master’s in school administration. She received her North Carolina Superintendent’s License in 2014 after graduating from Appalachian State University with an Ed.S. Auton completed her doctoral degree in education leadership in 2020 from Gardner-Webb University. In 2010, Auton was named Burke County Public Schools Teacher of the Year while at Rutherford College Elementary School. She is a past recipient of the N.C. Teaching Fellows award. Her past principalships were at Ray Childers Elementary School, Drexel Elementary School and Jimmy C. Draughn High School. In 2018 Auton was promoted to director of Elementary Education.

As assistant superintendent, Auton said she is looking forward to supporting the mission of the Board of Education and Dr. Swan's vision for the district. She also is looking forward to the district’s goal of educating successful students.

She said, “I am excited about continuing to be part of a team that puts students first and works hard to provide the best educational experiences for students and families in Burke County. I have enjoyed being a part of the leadership team for Burke County Public Schools over the last three years and developing relationships with each director, and I am excited to work collaboratively with them in a new capacity.”

Auton said one of her goals as assistant superintendent is to work with the district team to help the school district recover from the challenges faced by COVID-19 and to reignite the momentum of the school district prior to March 2020. She said, “We have learned a lot about education, about our students, and about ourselves over the last 18 months, and we need to channel this new knowledge to improve how we serve students. Another goal is to continue to grow teachers, principals and directors so that our students have access to top-quality educators and educational experts everyday.”

Auton and her husband, Matt, are both from Burke County and have two daughters, Allyson, 14, and Macy, 12. Ally will be a freshman at Draughn High School and Macy is a rising seventh grader at Heritage Middle School.

Auton said, “As a parent and as an educator, I want our students to know that they are cared for and loved while in our buildings each day. As educators we want so much more than to just teach students curriculum standards; we want to ignite a love of learning, help them discover their strengths and potential, and to give them the confidence to live out their dreams. I encourage every student to find that teacher this year that they can connect with and build a relationship with. On the flip side, I encourage every teacher to make a special effort to build positive relationships with each of their students and their families. I want students to know that we don't write you off after that graduation day; so many of your teachers will ‘claim’ you as one of ‘theirs’ for years to come. The standard I have always used as my ‘leadership compass’ is that if something is not good enough for Ally or Macy Auton, then it is not good enough for any child in my care, and I will continue to use this same compass in my role as assistant superintendent.”

Auton said her family enjoys traveling to gyms, pools and fields watching her girls play volleyball, compete in swim meets, play softball and run track events. When they are not involved in sporting events, they love hosting a good game night with family and friends at their home in Morganton.
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