CHATSWORTH — Gary Mealer says he chose to resign as principal of Murray County High School, effective at the end of the school year, and retire from the school system because he wasn’t given the option of remaining as principal next year.

Mealer’s resignation was accepted by the Board of Education Monday night.

“My plans up until Monday were to return as principal at Murray County High School,” Mealer said Wednesday. Superintendent “Dr. (Charlotte) Pipkin informed me late Monday afternoon that she was not going to recommend me back as principal. But she would recommend me back as assistant principal at Gladden Middle School.”

Mealer was offered a full-time position at Gladden, Pipkin said Wednesday.

“Mr. Mealer was offered a position, and he chose to retire and take a part-time position. He asked if a part-time position was available.”

Mealer accepted a part-time assistant principal position at Bagley Middle School. He will be drawing retirement in addition to his salary.

He had “no interest” in the position at Gladden, Mealer said. “Then we discussed another option of me retiring and taking a half-time position.”

This year makes 29 years for Mealer working in schools. He said he does not fully understand why he was not wanted as principal of the high school next year. He said Pipkin told him “she felt it was time for a change.”

Pipkin confirmed Wednesday that is what she told Mealer about next year.

“I think it was time for a change,” she said. “We needed a new vision for the high school.”

Asked what that new vision is, Pipkin said, “That will come when a new principal is named.”

Pipkin said she does not know how long it will be before a principal is hired.

Mealer said he has seen a lot of improvement during his time as principal, especially with test scores.

“I’m proud of what my faculty and staff and I have accomplished here,” he said. “My youngest son will be here next year. My plans were to be here next year, but I wasn’t given that option.

“I’ve enjoyed working here and enjoyed the kids and the staff. And I hope that the school will continue to improve at the end of this year. Like I said, my son will be here next year.”

Mealer said he chose to retire for his family.

“With the only two options I was presented I selected the one I felt was best for my family and me at that point. I have two kids in college and my wife is getting ready to start her master’s degree. So I had to look at financially what would be better for me,” he said.

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