Whitehall Yearling High School Principal Paul Smathers will step down effective July 31 to take a job in Groveport.

Smathers submitted a letter of resignation June 19; his final day will be July 31, said Ty Debevoise, director of communications and marketing for Whitehall schools.

The letter -- in which Smathers said he loved Whitehall and would "always be a Ram in my heart" -- was submitted to Superintendent Brian Hamler and requires the acceptance of the Whitehall school board, Debevoise said.

The board is scheduled to meet June 28. Smathers’ current contract expires July 31.

Smathers has accepted the position of director of student services with the Groveport-Madison Local School District, pending its board approval June 27.

In an email June 20 to ThisWeek Whitehall News, Smathers said it's a "bittersweet time" for him.

"I am very proud of the work that was accomplished by our staff during my time as principal," he said. "The Whitehall-Yearling staff are a caring and dedicated group of educators. I have learned and gained valuable experience from (Superintendent Brian Hamler's) outstanding leadership and he has made a profound impact on my career as an educational leader.

"I am going to miss Whitehall, I love this community, and genuinely care about the kids. I have made a lot of friends, I will stay in touch, and will always be a Ram in my heart."

Smathers was hired in August 2014 as an assistant principal at Whitehall-Yearling and was named principal in March 2016, after the resignation of Carl Svagerko. He had been an assistant principal at the school since 2014 after coming to the district from South-Western City Schools, where he was principal at Finland Middle School.

Smathers was selected from 62 candidates to succeed Svagerko, who resigned in December 2015