Wilkes County educators are going above and beyond to ensure that students gain classroom knowledge, practical skills and soft skills that are essential for success in the workplace. Collaboration between employers and educators at every level in the county is ongoing so that graduates can enter the workforce and meet its immediate needs. 

Primary and Secondary Education

Wilkes County's investment in education is evident in the modern schools throughout the County. Wilkes has recently funded $12 million in school physical plant improvements as part of an ongoing commitment to provide the highest quality educational setting in the area. In addition, the construction of four new middle schools was completed in 2002. As the result of these and other significant investments, Wilkes County students learn in some of the most modern and well-equipped schools of any rural setting and the investment have begun to show success. In the 2006-2007 school year, 20 of 21 Wilkes County schools met or exceeded targeted growth levels on End-of-Grade/End-of-Course tests.

In a rapidly changing world, Wilkes County Schools is committed to serving the needs of its students to prepare them for a productive life in the 21st century. We are committed to excellence in teaching and to the belief that all students can learn. Our goal is to promote high expectations for student success through a partnership of school, home and community. Each student is afforded a safe learning environment which helps develop lifelong learners, responsible citizens, independent thinkers, and productive adults able to meet challenges now and in the years ahead.

Secondary Education Programs for Career Training


Wilkes Community College Education Promise

The WCC Education Promise is a two-year, last-dollar scholarship designed to ensure every qualifying student graduating from high school in Wilkes, Ashe and Alleghany can get a college degree from Wilkes Community College tuition-free. This scholarship program makes sure every qualifying student is 100% covered for the roughly $2,572 annual cost for tuition and institutional fees. Students complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and get whatever federal and state aid they are qualified to receive to cover their tuition and fees. Then, WCC Education Promise covers 100% of the balance students owe for their tuition and fees, up to a total of $1,286 per semester. Students and their families are responsible for other costs associated with going to college, such as buying books, individual class fees and general living expenses. Students may pursue other scholarships to cover some of those costs. Partnering Universities include Appalachian State University and University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Career & Technical Education

Career & Technical Education provides opportunities for secondary students to participate in internships, externships, apprenticeships, college classes, certification programs, mock interviews and resume building. According to Wayne Shepherd, “To date, we have six companies that are offering fourteen apprenticeable occupations. The total number of students applying from year to year ranges between 10 and 15.”

The Leader in Me

Recognizing the need for students to learn soft skills, Wilkes County Schools instituted The Leader In Me program in all WCS middle schools in 2017. The Leader In Me weekly lessons are based on principles in Stephen Covey’s 1989 book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” 

Project ADMIT

Project ADMIT (Advancing Development in Manufacturing and Integrated Technologies) offers two college programs of study: Applied Engineering Technology and Computer Technology Integration. Students can begin taking courses associated with Project ADMIT in middle school.

United Teens in Action (UTA)

United Teens in Action (UTA) is a youth-focused civic engagement program designed for high school youth to increase their leadership experiences and help them become more involved with dynamic change occurring throughout Wilkes County.