Polk County Schools has selected veteran educator Toni Haley as the district’s next Exceptional Children’s Director.

Haley, currently serving as compliance coordinator for Polk County Schools, will replace Mike Melton, who is retiring after a career of almost 45 years in education.

Haley will move into her new role in July 1.

“I am so excited to serve Polk County Schools as Exceptional Children’s Director,” Haley said. “Polk County Schools and all who work there are warm and inviting and work hard to make sure that all students receive the very best education possible. I feel blessed to be able to serve as a leader in this district.”

Haley began her career as an EC teacher in Transylvania County Schools, working in the classroom for 15 years before moving into a role as a behavior specialist. She served as compliance coordinator for Transylvania County Schools for five years before joining Polk County Schools in 2020.

“We are pleased to have Toni Haley taking over as Exceptional Children’s Director for Polk County Schools,” said Superintendent Aaron Greene. “Mrs. Haley’s years as a classroom teacher and district-level compliance coordinator have prepared her well for this role. We believe her student-centered approach in this arena will serve our students and families well for the future.”

Melton’s retirement ends a tenure of more than four decades spent working in education. He joined Polk County Schools in 2014.

“Mr. Melton is truly one-of-a-kind, and he will be terribly missed,” Greene said. “With almost 45 years in education, he deserves to now spend his time resting, relaxing and reflecting on the lives he has impacted.

“Mike has done an incredible job leading and improving our Exceptional Children’s program. His dedication to our motto of ‘Doing What’s Right for Students’ has been evidenced in his work and deeds since the day he arrived in Polk County.”