Kathy Ritter is moving on up — into the “big office” at Rock Bridge High School.
“I’ve got to think about how to decorate my new office,” Ritter said as she glanced around her current corner office, which is covered with school memorabilia and pictures from students.
Ritter, 54, was named acting principal for the coming school year after Andy Kohl resigned from the position Wednesday afternoon so he could be with his family in Kansas City.
Ritter has been Rock Bridge’s assistant principal for student activities for 15 years and said she wasn’t surprised that district administrators asked her Wednesday evening to fill Kohl’s position.
“I wasn’t certain what was going to happen,” Ritter said. “But once I heard the announcement (that Kohl was leaving), it became a very definite possibility in my mind.”
Ritter, who is married to former superintendent Jim Ritter, has only been asked to serve as principal for one year. She may later be named Kohl’s permanent replacement.
“The Board of Education and the superintendents will make a decision about a more permanent replacement, which I’m sure will probably include Mrs. Ritter if she’s interested,” said Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent for student support services.
Ritter said her goals as principal include looking for ways to establish a more personal environment for students in a school that is growing steadily and having open communication with staff and parents. She also wants to continue the student-centered approach that she established as assistant principal, although she will now be working more closely with parents and faculty.
“I will definitely miss the student-centered aspect of this job,” she said. “I want to continue it as much as possible as principal.”
Her approach includes keeping her door open to students any time they have questions or concerns and helping them brainstorm ideas for community service and student activities.
Barnett said Ritter was the logical choice for the job.
“It’s pretty automatic when you have a resignation this late in the year and don’t have time to post a position,” Barnett said. “It makes a lot of sense to look at an assistant principal in the school.”
Assistant superintendent Wanda Brown told the Rock Bridge staff in an e-mail Thursday that Ritter was a “top-notched administrator ... who has a wealth of experience at Rock Bridge.”
She has earned the respect of students, parents and faculty during her time as assistant principal, Barnett said.
“She’s a very strong leader, she’s a visionary, has wonderful and original ideas, and works wonderfully with people,” said Linda Shumate, a math teacher at Rock Bridge for 21 years.
Barnett said the school will go without an assistant principal of student activities until after the school year gets underway.