The Lawrence school district will be searching for a new high school principal for the second time in two years.
Lawrence High School Principal Steve Nilhas announced he would resign at the end of the school year to pursue other opportunities.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with great kids, families and faculty. To be a part of the tradition of Lawrence High, I really embrace the tradition, and I think that’s something I very much enjoyed,” said Nilhas, 50, who came to Lawrence in 2003 after serving as the superintendent in Hill City.
He will conclude his sixth year at LHS in July and move on likely to another administrative position somewhere else. He also enjoys teaching.
“I just think the time comes, and this is the time,” said Nilhas, who recently earned his doctorate in educational leadership and special education from Kansas University.
School district leaders last year hired Ed West from Jefferson West High School in Meriden to replace the retiring Joe Snyder, Free State High School’s only principal since it opened in 1997.
Nilhas said his departure will be amicable after he decided to move on. He said he would like to see the next principal build on the school’s academic and athletic successes. It’s also crucial to maintain the school’s fine arts program, he said.
Lawrence Superintendent Randy Weseman, who is retiring at the end of the school year, said Nilhas helped “maintain Lawrence High’s tradition of excellence.”
“Steve has worked collaboratively with the professional staff at Lawrence High to ensure all students have the best educational opportunities. As a result, LHS continues to have a solid record of student achievement and continuous improvement,” Weseman said.
Jeff Plinsky, a fourth-year LHS English teacher and debate coach whom Nilhas hired, said several faculty members learned of the announcement during a meeting Monday. The school has made academic gains under Nilhas, including earning a 2008 Kansas Standard of Excellence award in math for achievements on the 2007-2008 assessment tests.
“I think he is very conscious about wanting to make sure Lawrence High went the extra mile to give every student an opportunity to succeed,” Plinsky said.
District leaders said they would immediately begin a principal search.