COLUMBIA — The Columbia Public School Board named a new principal for Rock Bridge High School at its Monday meeting. Kathy Ritter, who has been acting as temporary principal since former principal Andy Kohl resigned in July, now has the permanent position.
Ritter had been the high school’s assistant principal for student activities for 15 years. After Kohl left to join his family in Kansas City, Ritter was named acting principal for the 2007-2008 school year, with the possibility of becoming Kohl’s permanent replacement at the end of the year.
“It was presented very straightforward that I was the acting principal,” Ritter said Tuesday. “At that time they didn’t make any promises or decision (to make the position permanent); it was left open.”
The announcement of Ritter’s permanent position, though, came earlier than originally planned.
“A couple of weeks ago, they began to explore this being permanent, and at that time, they asked if I was interested, and I said yes,” Ritter said. “It was a pleasant surprise.”
Lynn Barnett, assistant superintendent of Columbia Public Schools, said Tuesday that the Board of Education received significant feedback from the faculty and community that they would really like to keep Ritter as principal.
“We assessed the situation and went ahead to make the decision,” Barnett said.
Ritter was recommended by the superintendent and administration to become the permanent principal, and the Board of Education made the final approval Monday.
Although Ritter now has a different title, her job will be the same. Barnett said she will have the same responsibilities as a permanent principal.
“There are really no differences,” Ritter said. “I focused on being the principal.”
Ritter said she is eager to continue her work at Rock Bridge.
“I think knowing it’s a permanent position will allow everyone to push that question aside and move forward with the work it takes to run a high school and focus on what’s important, which is teaching the kids,” she said.