Early Education

Haywood County offers Preschool and Child Care Centers in all sizes, costs and programs to fill all budgets and preferences. There are at least six 5-star as well as 4-star centers to chose from.

Find Haywood County Childcare


Public Education

The mission of Haywood County Schools is grounded in the Good to Great business research of Jim Collins. The mission is Passionate Work and Productive Work produce Student Success. Haywood County has 16 public schools serving 7,600 students.

There are 1,088 Academically Gifted or Intellectually Gifted (AIG) students representing 14.77% of the student population. There are also 1,206 Exceptional Children representing 15.9% of the student population. Some children are “twice exceptional,” being “gifted” and also having a handicapping condition.
Haywood Co. School class photo There are 90 Advanced Placement and Honors Courses available through face-to-face or online instruction. Haywood County Schools out-performed 85% of the other school districts in North Carolina despite having a Free and Reduced Lunch rate of 54.9%. In Haywood County Schools, every child has an opportunity to learn and experience success.

The schools offer a wealth of options for children and their families. There are 9 elementary schools, 3 middle schools and 4 high schools including 1 alternative school and 1 early college high school. There are over 100 extra-curricular clubs, organizations and athletic teams. These academic and extra-curricular activities have produced individual and team championships in band, chorus, sportsman’s competitions, football, volleyball, cheerleading, girls and boys basketball, swimming, soccer, golf, softball, Odyssey of the Mind, Battle of the Books, Career Technical Education competitions and numerous other areas.

The school district is proud to have a National Blue Ribbon School, two National Title I Distinguished Schools, a Park Scholarship winner, Governor’s School selectees and averages over 100 students each year who receive academic and athletic scholarships worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. The school district strives to innovate through thoughtfully planned continuous improvement.

Haywood County Schools Academic Highlights:

  • Ranked 14th among 115 school districts on the ACT and on the SAT Critical Reading and Math
  • Ranked 16th among 115 school districts on the Workkeys. This is the proficiency rating for students completing CTE (vocational) course sequences.
  • Ranked 15th among 115 school districts on overall academic performance
  • Over the last 10 years the district has moved from a ranking of 40th to 15th in overall academic performance.
  • For three consecutive years, Haywood County Schools has had the highest academic performance in the history of the school district.

Haywood Early College Academic Highlights:

  • “A” school – among the highest performing schools in NC

Pisgah High School Academic Highlights:

  • Ranked in the top 29% in academic performance among 346 comprehensive high schools in NC – outperforming 246 comprehensive high schools in the state

Tuscola High School Academic Highlights:

  • Ranked in the top 30% in academic performance among 346 comprehensive high schools in NC – outperforming 241 comprehensive high schools in the state
  • 4th in the region in ACT proficiency


Haywood County Schools

NC School Report Cards

Public School Review


Private Education

Currently Haywood County has four private education options for parents and their children:
Haywood Christian Academy

Bethel Christian Academy

Shining Rock Classical Academy

St. Joseph Academy


Higher Education

Haywood County is surrounded by six community colleges and universities offering excellent educational and enrichment opportunities.

Haywood Community College opened in August 1965 as Haywood Industrial Education Center and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. Today the college offers over 50 curriculum programs to over 3,000 students in the areas of advanced technologies, arts, general education, business and entrepreneurship, creative arts, health and human services and natural resource management. In addition, The College offers distance learning and continuing education opportunities. To view those opportunities, please visit . The main campus is a designated arboretum known for its well manicured lawns of tall oak trees, picturesque mill pond and beautiful gardens.

Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University Commons

Western Carolina University is located in Cullowhee, 20 miles west of Haywood County and 52 miles west of Asheville. Home of the Catamounts, the campus is located on a beautiful 600-acre campus with over 10,000 students from the US, Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Western is a part of the University of North Carolina System and offers more than 220 majors including business, engineering or nursing.

Top–rated programs include Project Management and Entrepreneurship, ranked among the best in the nation. The Criminal Justice Program was used as a model for North Carolina’s accreditation program. WCU is the largest producer of teachers in North Carolina and was the National winner of the 2006 Association of Teacher Educators.

Southwestern Community College is a two–year College located in Sylvia, which provides coursework in arts, sciences, career technologies and health services. Over 2,600 students enter more than 60 programs while another 5,500 participate in the school’s ongoing continuation programs.

UNC Asheville, part of the University of North Carolina system, is the only dedicated liberal arts institution in the system. Selected as one of the best colleges in the country for price, the university focuses on critical thinking by taking students outside their chosen fields of study.

Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is located in Asheville 30 minutes east of Haywood County. The college has the largest total headcount enrollment annually of any institution of higher education in Western North Carolina and is part of the University of North Carolina College System.

Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory has an Asheville campus that offers several master’s degrees. Degrees offered include an MBA in Business Administration, MA in Community College Administration, MA in Counseling, an MS in Nursing, and an MPH in Public Health among others.