My Catawba County

5Q: Dr. Bryan Taylor

5Q: Dr. Bryan Taylor

This month’s 5Q (Five Questions) features Dr. Bryan Taylor, who joined Hickory Public Schools as superintendent this past July. With a career spanning nearly three decades in education, Dr. Taylor has worn just about every hat imaginable including teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent. We recently caught up with him to learn more about his new role in our community and his vision for the future of HPS.

What are the chief responsibilities of your role?

  • Serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the district
  • Promote and maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff
  • Provide leadership in the development, implementation, monitoring and assessment of a framework of teaching and learning the meets the needs of all students within the district
  • Maintain the effective operation of the district
  • Work with BOE to implement the district vision and strategic plan of the district
  • Serve as an instructional leader
  • Model appropriate values and demonstrate ethical behavior
  • Exercise moral leadership
  • Be a good listener
  • Be adept and flexible when dealing with issues
  • Develop and recommend to the BOE short and long-range plans that meet the needs of the district  
  • Work with various interest groups both inside the district and within the community to maximize the effectiveness of the district
  • Develop and implement an effective and efficient district budget
  • Ensure the district curriculum meets district, state, and national standards
  • Evaluate the district (constantly looking for ways to improve)
  • Build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders
  • Work with school-level leadership to serve the needs of our students and district
  • Work with local, state, and federal elected officials to ensure the needs of the district are being met
  • Develop effective communication strategies and relationships with all stakeholders
  • Make weather-related decisions (school delays and/or closings due to weather)

What is your vision for the community, and how are you working to achieve it?
My vision is to improve the lives of the young people I serve and to improve the community I serve.  My vision is for Hickory Public Schools to be the best school district it can possibly be.  I made the commitment to spend the majority of my first year listening and learning.  While there will be some small changes, most large-scale changes will come after I have had the opportunity to listen, learn, observe, and evaluate our district.  I am currently working to determine what we (HPS) need to be more efficient and effective in all aspects of our operations (instruction, budget/finance, school safety, etc.).  For example, we are currently planning a comprehensive needs assessment for our district that will provide a wealth of information as we begin the process of developing our next strategic plan.  This new strategic plan will serve as our roadmap moving forward.  In order to develop a sound plan and vision for our district, we need information.  We need to know what works and what doesn’t work and why?  We need to know what skills young people will need to be successful in the future.  We need to know what we can do to strengthen and grow the local workforce.   

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do, and why?
Helping young people achieve their goals and dreams.  It gives me great joy to see young people I serve succeed.  I have a strong desire to remove roadblocks and provide opportunities for all students.  Young people are our future.  I am also trying to uphold the legacy of those who served and supported me during my time as a student.  I would not be where I am today without the support of my parents, family and friends.  I also owe a great deal of gratitude to the many people who served as teachers and administrators during my time as a student.

On a personal note, what do you love about living in Catawba County?
Catawba County is a vibrant and growing community.  We are located in an area that is conducive to continued economic growth and development.  The people I have met have been very supportive of what we are trying to accomplish. 

What is the best advice you've been given, and how has it made a difference for you?
Determine what your three to five core values are and live by them.  Your core values serve as your compass in life and people should (and will) see what they are by the way you live and how you treat other people.  This advice helped me focus and be very intentional about many decisions in my life and how I live my life. 


Favorite hobby?

A little bit country or a little bit rock and roll?
Classic rock and roll

Favorite place in Catawba County?
I have not decided yet

Eastern or Western BBQ?

What are you currently reading? 
The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle