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NHS principal Eclan David resigns in middle of school year

COVINGTON – Newton High School principal Eclan David has resigned from his position, leaving Assistant Principal John Ellenberg to serve as interim principal for the remainder of the school year.

A press release from the Newton County School System released Tuesday states that David, who began as NHS principal in July, wrote a letter to Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey in which he said he was resigning because of “personal reasons.”

There was no apparent indication that David had planned on resigning, according to school officials.

“Mr. David’s resignation was sudden,” said NCSS Public Relations Director Sherri Davis-Viniard. “We wish the very best for him and his family.”

With Ellenberg now serving as the interim principal, NHS English teacher Ryan Norman will serve as an interim assistant principal.

Ellenberg, who has served as a NHS assistant principal for six years, has also worked as a science department chair for the school, and has been an administrator since 2001.

Fuhrey said that the now-vacant principal position would be advertised at a later date. However, the process can take some time.

“The process for recruitment and selection of principals varies widely,” stated Davis-Viniard. “Given that Mr. Ellenberg has been placed at Newton High as an interim, we would like to see him complete the 2013-14 school year for the sake of the students, faculty and community. We will post the principal’s position in the near future and begin the process for selecting a permanent principal.”

Fuhrey met with NHS faculty and staff on Tuesday and told them that her full attention would be focused on the school’s welfare and progress.

“I want to assure the Newton High School community that it is my goal to appoint the very best leader for Newton High School,” said Fuhrey in a released statement. “It is important to the students, to their parents, to the staff, and to the school and school system’s ultimate success.”

NHS recently had recordkeeping issues. In December, the school’s graduation rate was reported as 67 percent, which impacted the county’s overall graduation rate. After reviewing the decrease, Newton High personnel determined that they had not been able to verify all of the reasons for student withdrawal at the time the 2013 graduation rates were originally released, causing the rate to drop.

When discovering this miscalculation, the Georgia Department of Education granted a brief window of time during which the school was allowed to update its data. In that time period, NHS personnel were able to track down information on students who had transferred to other schools, bringing the school’s graduation rate up 5 points.

The school released in January a modified graduation rate of 72 percent, slightly higher than the 71 percent state average.