TRUCKEE, Calif. — After this year, Truckee High School principal Greg Dettinger will never again walk the school’s halls and hear its students calling out “Hey, Mr. D.” while getting high-fives from them.
“It’s been the hardest career decision in my life,” Dettinger said Friday after announcing his resignation earlier that day, effective this June.
Dettinger, who was appointed in June 2012 as Truckee High’s principal, cited a need to live closer to family members who will be moving to Fort Wayne, Ind., and Miami due to occupational reasons as his reason for leaving.
“I am disappointed, but I understand the reasons for Mr. Dettinger’s resignation and appreciate all that he has done for the students, parents and staff members of Tahoe Truckee High School,” said Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Superintendent Rob Leri.
In his short time at Truckee High, Dettinger improved communication among students, parents and the community; helped increase offerings in electives and Advanced Placement courses for students; and started the process to develop Career Technical Education pathways for students, which will continue, Leri said.
But perhaps his biggest accomplishment was his involvement with the students, said Sarah Williams, a Truckee High senior and Associated Student Body president.
“Students felt he genuinely cared about them and was there for them,” she said.
Dettinger took the time to learn the students’ names, would go out of his way to say hello and ask students how their day was going, and attended after-school activities and sporting events, Williams said.
“I poured my heart and soul into this place with no regrets,” Dettinger said. “… (The) only regret is having to leave, but we (he and his wife, Shelley) feel it’s the right decision.”
For the 2013-14 school year, Dettinger will be the principal of a Midwestern high school, the name of which he said he cannot reveal until later this month after it becomes official, he said.
Dettinger said he is committed to Truckee High and its students until the end and will help make it a smooth transition for the new principal.
The position was listed on Friday, Leri said. Applicants will go through multiple vetting processes that involve administration, staff, teacher, student and parent input, with a goal of appointing a new principal by the June 19 TTUSD board of trustees meeting.
“However, the No. 1 goal is to find the right person, and if that takes longer, we will adjust for that,” Leri said.
Over the last 15 years, Truckee High has had five principals, according to previous reports. Recently, David Putney served the 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years, while John Neary was principal from 2008-09 to 2009-10.
The recent turnover is cause for concern, said Jim Smith, a parent of a Truckee High student.
“Unfortunately, the students and parents of Truckee High School once again need to end and enter another school year without having a principal to help outline and schedule a unified program,” Smith wrote in a letter to the Sun. “…Our kids deserve the chance to have a stable learning environment.”
In an effort to encourage longer retention, Leri said the district will carefully look at experienced applicants who have an understanding and appreciation for this mountain community, while attempting to assess the impact of relocation with them.
“Students felt (Dettinger) genuinely cared about them and was there for them.”
Truckee High senior