A bombshell was dropped as Mr. Kelly broke the news that he is resigning as principal of RAHS at the end of the school year.
While speculation has surrounded the reasons behind Mr. Kelly’s resignation, they’re exactly as stated in his letter to the school: personal reasons.
“It doesn’t obviously tell the whole story and I have to live with that,” said Kelly, “but I also want to reiterate that it has nothing to do with the amazing students here, the support of parents, or our incredible partners. They have nothing to do with the decision.”
Mr. Kelly’s decision is very emotional, not only for the students and staff, but also for Kelly himself.
“I’m sorrowful. But since I have made the decision, for me and my family, it was the best one,” said Kelly. “Maybe it’s true, with almost any decision, really hard decisions we have to make here, part of you is like ‘that feels good, that was right’ and then there’s a sense of loss that comes with it.”
While Mr. Kelly will no longer be principal, he feels hopeful for the future RAHS and its vision.
“I believe the staff and the student community, I sense that there’s still lots of great days ahead for the school,” said Kelly. “The school is a lot bigger than I am. I feel confident that you guys will continue to do great things and I will enjoy reading about you.”
Being principal at RAHS is a complicated duty to fulfill, and Kelly hopes that the next principal will come prepared for the unique responsibilities of this role.
“The goal would be to have [the new principal] come on board at the end of the year because there are obviously some things they need to know. This is a very complex place to work,” said Kelly. “If it were a regular school, we [wouldn’t] have all the interactions with industry and the Museum of Flight, it’s pretty straight-forward. There are a lot of other responsibilities tied to this role than traditional principals would have.”
The process will be overseen by Ben Gauyan, Instructional Leadership Executive Director of the Highline School DIstrict, who is dedicated to finding the right match for RAHS.
“Highline Public Schools is launching a national search to find a new principal who will build on the success of RAHS and lead the school to be a national model of STEM learning,” said Gauyan. “Our hope is that the RAHS community, staff, families, aviation industry partners, and the leadership of the Museum of Flight will be an integral part in the search process.”
Through the month of February the position was advertised and interviews and screenings will take place during late March, with hopes of finding a replacement before the end of May.
“My boss, Ben Guayan, has started to collect feedback from students, staff, and parents to learn about the desired qualities of my successor,” said Kelly. “The position will be advertised internally and then externally through various channels. I believe the goal is to name my replacement before May 15.”
While Highline principals are notified first, the application for the position is open to anyone with an interest in the school’s vision.
“It’ll be open to anybody, I suppose, that has an interest in here,” said Kelly. “I don’t think there will be any lack of [applicants] wanting to come here because it is such an incredible school.”
In fact, Gauyan stresses that the finding the right characteristics for a new principal will be the most important part of the process, and one that students and staff will be involved in. Fortunately, as Kelly anticipated, there should be many great options for RAHS’ next leader.
“The characteristic identification process is an important part of the selection process as we strive to make the best match of principal to school community,” said Gauyan. “Your voice is a valuable and a key part of this process.”