SRO Tyler Kelly talking with students in the cafeteria at Community High.

Thousands of extraordinary staff help keep Buncombe County Schools (BCS) operating on a daily basis. BCS recruits only the best to help inspire, educate, encourage and elevate students. This BCS Staff Spotlight recognizes the courageous efforts demonstrated by School Resource Officer (SRO) Officer Tyler Kelly of the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office (BCSO).

Officer Kelly has returned home to Buncombe County Schools, but most importantly, Community High School (CHS). Kelly is a 2011 graduate of CHS, and says returning home has been a dream come true. 

“CHS holds a special place in my heart,” Kelly said. “I really feel like there’s a sense of community in this building that is hard to replicate in other school environments.”

On any given day, Officer Kelly is seen sitting with students in the cafeteria. He strives to get to know each person that enters the school. Having a former CHS graduate working with the staff and students has been inspiring, said Principal Cathy Haughney. 

“What an awesome resource, having him as a graduate only confirms that with a high school diploma you can go on to be super successful,” she said. “Mr. Kelly shares his story with students, about where he came from and where he is now.  Our students can see themselves in him and have hope for a successful future. Students know they can look up to him as a mentor.”  

After graduation, Mr. Kelly attended some college, but made the decision to join the U.S. Army. From there his passion for helping others shined through. 

“I had a very good relationship with my high school SRO, Mike Sparks,” he said. “Though we had our differences at times, he became a great mentor and role model of mine. I believe the military instilled certain skills and gave me perspective that has transferred well into Law Enforcement.”

Some say that Officer Kelly fits the mold of being an SRO well, and see the difference he is making. 

“Being an SRO is so much more than being a law enforcement officer; it is being able to remember what it's like to be a young person growing up figuring the world out,” said school Social Worker Stephanie Jones. “His personal knowledge is reflective in the work that he does with the students. He is able to empathize and understand aspects of their lives that they bring into the building everyday, and he thoughtfully engages with them from that vantage point.”

“Mr. Kelly makes an impact everyday,” Ms. Haughney said. “Students go to him with concerns and worries.  He validates their feelings and looks into their concerns. His impact is felt across the entire school.”

Officer Kelly hopes the students CHS remember to always strive for better. 

“I just want students to know that I am a person that has made good and bad decisions in life, but I have worked hard to overcome and achieve my goals,” he explained. “Just showing students that no matter what type of barriers are in your way, with hard work and commitment, any goal is achievable.”

SRO Tyler Kelly walking the halls and taking with a student.