The role of our teachers today has evolved significantly during the decades — increasing diversity, increasing safety concerns and increasing class size are but a few of the factors that have seen to that.

Now, couple this with the role of a company CEO — albeit a leader who is very hands-on when it comes to personnel, customers, budgets, expenditures, maintenance and all the other details that go into running a successful business — and you have a unique and challenging outcome: A school principal.

Such was the position for which Chris Blanton signed up for two years ago when he assumed the helm of Watauga High School. And such is the outcome of that assumption that on Feb. 22, Blanton was named the Watauga County Schools Principal of the Year.

During those two years, Blanton has made innovation the watchword of his administration. Search not for new ways to do things for the sake of newness, he instructs his staff, but for new ways to improve and support educational options for the betterment of their students.

It takes time and energy to approach a leadership role in this manner, but Blanton has led by example. He holds his staff to high expectations — yet not as high as the expectations he places on himself.

More telling, Blanton was not chosen for the award by less-informed observers: principals select the principal of the year.

We congratulate Blanton and the work his team is performing at Watauga High School. And as he moves onto the regional Northwest North Carolina Principal of the Year, we have a message for those who have input into that selection: You couldn’t make a finer choice.

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