Grandview Heights High School kicked off spring break with a surprise March 18 when the principal stepped down, citing personal and family reasons.

Grandview Heights High School kicked off spring break with a surprise March 18 when the principal stepped down, citing personal and family reasons.

"Jesse Truett gave the superintendent a letter of resignation on Friday," board president Kathy Lithgow told ThisWeek March 21. "The reason he stated in the letter was family and health reasons, but he did not elaborate any more than that. We were not aware anything was going on, so it was a surprise."

Superintendent Ed O'Reilly spent the day Friday making inquiries about an interim principal, Lithgow said.

"When I last talked to our superintendent on Friday afternoon, he had been networking to see what the possibilities were for an interim principal," she said. "He indicated to me he thought he had somebody who could step in and be the interim, at least for a while. That was pretty encouraging.

"He was feeling some pressure to try to get something at least started before he went away for spring break," Lithgow said.

She said that because the district is small, with only three buildings and three principals, it is not possible to immediately name someone within the district to the position. Curriculum director Katie Maxfield, a former principal, will be carrying some of the administrative load in the meantime.

"She is well versed," Lithgow said. "If there is anything that needs to be done she can handle it. Ed O'Reilly himself was a principal; he came up through the ranks. It's not like the high school will be set adrift."

The most recent principal to be hired was Truett, in 2008. The district is high performing, small and stable and attracts many candidates for open jobs, Lithgow noted.

"In the past, and it seemed to work well, what we have done is advertise the position through professional journals," Lithgow said. "The word tends to spread quickly. We are very lucky that Grandview has a wonderful reputation in the education world, so we tend to have a lot of applicants for all jobs."

Candidates would likely be pre-screened and narrowed down to a final pool of applicants who would be interviewed by a committee made up of teachers, parents and administrators, Lithgow said.

Truett worked for five years as a math instructor at Westerville North High School before becoming an assistant principal for three years and then three years as principal at Newark High School before joining Grandview Heights. Truett could not be reached for comment by press time.