Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer
The School board held a special called meeting on Monday morning to swear in new board members, re-elected board members and appointed board members. New member Hilary Wilkes will represent Highlands, Carol Arnold replaces Fred Goldsmith and Jim Breedlove was re-elected and will continue to serve as board chair.
Arnold, who replaced Fred Goldsmith, when he suddenly resigned last month, has had a long tenure in the education system.
Arnold, a Macon County native, graduated from Franklin High School (FHS) in 1973. She attended college at Western Carolina University, and after graduating with a degree in Elementary Education in 1977, she began teaching school in Swain County. At that time there were no available positions in Macon County, so she taught in Swain County for seven years. She also received her Masters Degree in Elementary Education and has become certified in several areas of middle school curriculum. She has obtained her Curriculum Specialist licensure along with a superintendent’s license and principal’s license.
When a position became available at Macon Middle School (MMS) in 1984, she began teaching there, and was chosen as Teacher of the Year. Arnold worked at MMS until 1988 when she took a job as Director of Exceptional Education with the Macon County School System. She left her position with Macon Schools in 1998 to work as a Field Consultant for the State Department of Public Instruction. There, she was in charge of 18 school systems in the Western NC Region. In 1998, Arnold also ran for a position with the Macon County Board of Education. She was appointed to a four-year term which she held until 2002. She did not seek re-election because her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she left to become her caretaker. Arnold’s mother passed away in 2003.
In the summer of 2003 she took a job as the Associate Superintendent of Clay County Schools and retired in 2009. She and her husband did some traveling during their retirement. In 2014, Arnold had had enough of retirement so she took a position as a Consultant of Federal Programs with the Macon County School System. When Josh Lynch took her place in July of 2020, Arnold retired, once again. On Dec. 7, Arnold was sworn in as an official School Board Member, replacing Fred Goldsmith.
Arnold will have been married to Jerry Arnold for 46 years, on Dec. 22. He is a retired Macon County Schools Administrator. In 2006, he retired as principal of Cartoogechaye Elementary School. Arnold says her husband is an avid hunter and fisherman. They have one son who also attended Macon County Schools.
Arnold wants to carry on with Fred Goldsmith’s visions.
“I want to support the schools, the staff, the parents, the students, and our community as we strive for excellence,” she said. She has a great deal of respect for Goldsmith and said that she thinks that he was very invested in the schools and cared deeply for the students and staff.