In a called faculty meeting after school on Monday, Cedar Shoals Principal Mrs. DeAnne Varitek announced that she would be stepping down at the end of June after only two years on the job.
After her announcement to the faculty, Varitek later sent out an e-mail to students and parents Monday evening.
In the e-mail Varitek said, “It is with heavy heart that I write you this letter to share that I will be stepping down as Principal at the end of June.”
Varitek closed the email saying, “Please know that I love you and will work closely with the next Principal to ensure that you have all the support that you need.”
The announcement came as a shock to students and faculty alike.
“I was shocked. She filled out her letter of intent and e-mailed a picture of her about how excited she was to return, so I didn’t see it coming,” said Mrs. Elizabeth Haas, math department chair.
“I was a little bit sad and upset because I thought she was a really great principal. I feel like she saw good in all of us, so seeing her leave was hard for me,” said Amy Sarr, 10th grade.
Other faculty were less surprised because Cedar Shoals has had three principals in the past four years.
“Honestly, there was kind of a lack of reaction from me. This is my fourth year teaching here at Cedar Shoals and she is my third principal,” said Mrs. Megan Ogden, English department.
“I was kind of surprised but I almost felt like it was inevitable to happen soon because the community did not embrace her coming into the school,” said Ms. Shemeda Jones, social studies department.
Jones said the reason that people most likely didn’t accept her is because of past experiences and change. The alleged sexual assault incident that eventually led to Varitek being hired only took place just over two years ago.
“I don’t think we got over the initial shock of everything that has happened. That and her embodiment of change and what she wanted to change. People don’t like change.”
Varitek said the reason for her resignation was because she needs to spend more time with her two children.
“I’ve missed fourth and fifth grade for my youngest, and now he starts sixth grade next year. I have two of my children in middle school, and I just feel like the next three years are really critical for them. I need to do that job really well that I signed on for 13 and 11 years ago,” said Varitek.
The need for resignation was a sudden realization for her as well. It was not until a conversation with her youngest son that she realized she needed to be home with her children.
“My plans, until a couple of weeks ago, were absolutely to return. I was very excited, and I know next year is going to be a exciting year. I went home to my kids, and one had a band concert. He said ‘It’s okay if you can’t go Mom. I know work is more important.’ And he said that with a sincerity and kindness and understanding. It was just a knife to the heart to have him say that.”
Varitek says that she has seen Cedar’s community change for the better in her short time here.
“I have always said that we have great kids. I think that the students are starting to believe that a little bit more. Cedar does not have a culture of conflict anymore, and that’s really how I characterized it last year. We still have conflict, but I don’t say we have a culture of conflict anymore.”
Varitek announced her resignation early so that Cedar would have the best chance at getting the best principal possible.
“I want you guys to have every opportunity to get the best, most competitive principal in here. If I would have waited later to set some things up in my own life, then a lot of the really amazing principals out there might have been taken,” said Varitek.
Varitek wants students to know that her job is not over until June 30th and that she will work tirelessly to find a great principal.
“I hope that principal takes time to get to know you guys. You are what drives the work that we do, so that we can help you achieve what you are absolutely capable of achieving. I think you’re going to be in great hands. I trust the process and I absolutely know that we are going to work tirelessly to find the person who’s going to continue to pull the school forward,” said Varitek.