By Ryan Lengerich: CNJ staff writer
Clovis High School Principal Andy Sweet announced Friday he will step down at the school year’s end.
Sweet will finish this school year as principal and return next school year to teach mathematics at the high school, said Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Jim McDaniel.
Yucca Junior High Principal Jody Balch has accepted the position at CHS.
Sweet, who has been principal since July 1998, made the announcement to school faculty at a monthly meeting.
McDaniel said Sweet wanted to spend more time with family. Assistant Principal Jack Walters said Sweet cited health concerns as a reason for his resignation.
He said it appeared much of the faculty was caught off-guard by the announcement.
Sweet could not be reached for comment Saturday.
“There were a lot of tears and he is very popular with the faculty and people that work for him,” Walters said. “He was very kind to everybody from custodians to teachers to everyone. He had a real respect for people.”
McDaniel said Sweet signed a two-year contract in March to remain as principal, but visited Superintendent Neil Nuttall in recent weeks about resigning.
Walters worked with Sweet throughout his tenure as principal.
“He is an extremely honest person. He really cares about the students,” Walters said. “He was very straightforward and thought this would be the best time and he had been pretty ill and that is one of those jobs that is really a high pressure job.”
Balch, principal at Yucca for 12 years, said he was approached by Nuttall on April 23 about the job. Balch said he was an electronics and auto mechanics teacher at the high school before moving to Yucca.
“I was humbled to be real honest and I didn’t see it coming.” Balch said. “I am looking forward to the older kids and less of the seventh graders pulling each others hair and slapping each other on the back of the head.”
The 47-year-old Balch said he is entering his 25th year working in the school district and had the option to retire, but after a discussion with his family was quick to accept the new challenge.
“I think Mr. Sweet has assembled a real fine faculty and I hope to build on that,” he said. “This is a move that certainly got my interest up and is really going to rejuvenate me.”