AMS Cougar News

Thursday, July 14, 2022

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Principal's Message

Dear AMS Cougar Family,

I am so excited to be rejoining the AMS Cougar Family as your principal. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and share with you how we are busily getting ready for the return of students and staff in August.

In the fall of 1992 I began tutoring at Asheville Middle School. I was nineteen years old, and I came to campus three days a week to work with students. I continued as a tutor the following year, and then I began completing my teacher observations and student teaching. After graduation, I worked as a substitute at AMS, until I was hired full time in January of 1997 as a seventh grade English Language Arts and social studies teacher. I later went on to become an Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) Specialist, and I taught high school geometry one year. I was the eLearning Advisor for the North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) courses. During my nearly 23 years here, I also coached cheer team and golf, along with many academic teams, such as Speech and Debate. I was also the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) advisor for many years. During these years I participated in many committees, drove a bus on occasion, and even taught remedial math. There is not a lot at AMS that I have not done. For the past three years, I have served the Ira B. Jones Elementary School community as its assistant principal. I am so very honored to be back at AMS in this new role. Asheville Middle School has an amazing staff and great students.

I think it is also critical that I share with you briefly some of my guiding principles. First, I believe that every student should have the opportunity to learn something new at school each day. Second, I have high expectations for myself, the staff, and the students. We will all have to work together to ensure that students are growing academically and that we are able to support other needs that they may have. Finally, I value building relationships within our school and community; this is essential to our students' success.

I officially started on July 1, and in these last two weeks I have been working with the administrative team and the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) leadership to prepare for the return of staff and students in a little over a month. There are a lot of ways to support the PTO; check out the PTO website to figure out where you can fit in. By the start of school, we hope to have in your hands a calendar of events for the year. When you get it, I ask that you commit to trying to participate in at least one activity a quarter, whether it is a sporting event, a campus cleanup, a musical concert, or a curriculum-based event. One districtwide event I want to put on your radar is the Make our Schools Beautiful Project on August 6. Check out the flyer below and/or sign up here.

There is another way that I need your support of our entire district. Asheville City Schools (ACS) is hiring and families are an important part of our network when it comes to advertising available positions. Whether one of you is interested in a job or you have a friend who is, ACS is a great place to work. I have included the flyer below that lists all of the jobs that are available in the district, but I want your special help recruiting for a custodian and an administrative assistant for Asheville Middle. Here is a link for interested folks to read the job postings and apply: I would like to have these positions filled by August, so encourage folks to apply quickly.

If your student is going to ride the bus this year, you need to complete this form to get them set up for the year. Even if you have not moved and your student was a bus rider in the past, it is critical that you complete this process. Please do not submit this form unless they are going to be a regular rider. This is not a placeholder for if your student might need the bus in an emergency. Also, please make sure that you complete the form for each student that you have. If you can not locate your student's PowerSchool number, which is required for the form, feel free to call AMS and we will assist you.

Finally, there will be more updates to come soon, but for now enjoy this last month of summer break. Please feel free to email me ( or call the school (350-6200) if you need to reach me! Thank you for trusting us with your students!


Jo Peterson Gibbs Landreth

Asheville Middle School Principal