Olentangy Orange High School’s principal will leave the district at the end of the year to take a job with the Ohio School Boards Association.

Olentangy’s school board is expected to accept Principal Kathy McFarland’s resignation, effective Jan. 1, at its meeting Thursday, Dec. 7. After leaving the district, McFarland will become the association’s deputy executive director.

McFarland said she thinks her new job will give her a chance to “influence the success of students … throughout the state of Ohio.”

The private, nonprofit group, which is based in Columbus, serves as an advocacy and training resource for member boards and the public school districts they represent. McFarland said her new job will allow her to work directly with legislators, school board members and other officials who shape educational policies.

McFarland said even though the opportunity is exciting, she struggled with the choice to leave Orange High School.

“This is a tough decision because I really do love what I do,” she said.

Olentangy spokesman Devon Immelt said Orange Assistant Principal Trond Smith will serve as interim principal after McFarland’s resignation takes effect. The district has not yet announced a timeline for the process of selecting a permanent successor.

McFarland took over as principal at Orange High School ahead of the start of the 2015-16 school year. She previously served as principal at Hyatts Middle School.

McFarland said she will miss interacting with students and “watching rock-star teachers do their thing day in and day out.” She said she plans to continue her research into the behaviors of successful students and potentially write a book about the topic.

McFarland’s departure will mark the second time a high school principal has left the district within a year. Tom McDonnell, former principal at Olentangy High School, stepped down at the end of the 2016-17 school year to become the Dublin City School District’s director of student operations.