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ADs Lyerly, Williams moving on to principal jobs



Both Freedom and Patton high schools have athletic directors on the move after a round of changes approved by the Burke County Board of Education earlier this week.

FHS’ Antonio Lyerly will become the principal of Walter Johnson Middle School while PHS’ Jeff Williams is headed to be the principal at Valdese Elementary School, Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Mike Swan announced in an email to school system employees following the board meeting on Monday evening.

Williams had been in the role at Patton since February 2018 while Lyerly was named the Freedom post in June 2021.

Williams said he is proud of everything the school’s athletic department has accomplished and the opportunity to share in those achievements, along with interactions with the community.

“I would like to take this time to thank everyone for a wonderful seven years as the Patton High school athletic director,” Williams said. “I am most proud of the relationships that I have been able to forge with the coaches, students, faculty and community. Over those years, we have been able to send 32 students to college to further their education and continue their athletic careers.

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“We have won three individual state championships and two team championships. There have been numerous conference championships and individual conference championships, as well as conference coaches of the year and players of the year.”

Lyerly’s time at Freedom spans back before he accepted the athletic director post, and he said he has valued his time as a Patriot. He said he has a lot of people to thank for what he’s been able to accomplish at the school.

“I’ve enjoyed the day-to-day grind and the process,” Lyerly said. “Freedom for the past eight years has been good to me. I’ve had a lot of great support, starting with our superintendent, Dr. Swan, and our school board. Obviously, Casey Rogers has been a big contributor to my success and been a big mentor to me throughout my time.

“I’ve learned from a lot of great people and had a lot of great success. You get opportunities, you want to make the best of them and you want to make folks proud who have given you those opportunities. Our school board has done a phenomenal job of placing people in the right fits, doing the right things. All of those people over at the central office are all A-plus people.”

Williams said he is ready to take on the challenges that come along with moving up in administration and transitioning down to the elementary school level.

“The only constant in life is change, and I have accepted a new position with the Burke County Public Schools. In the fall, I will become the new principal of Valdese Elementary,” Williams said. “I look forward to the challenges with excitement and I am eager to start a new chapter of my life. Thank you again for everyone’s support.”

Lyerly served as an assistant principal and athletic director at Walter Johnson in the past and he knows the community very well, giving him reason to be excited.

“I’m very excited about the opportunity. The Walter Johnson community, that’s where my church is and where I spend a lot of my time. I’ve been here at Freedom and gotten to know those families and those siblings, and being an assistant principal and athletic director there prior to coming back to Freedom.

“There’s a lot of excitement. There are a lot of things I feel that we can accomplish and have great success there.”

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