Michael May is saying goodbye to Amherst Steele High School after five years as principal.
He’s accepted a position this fall as director of personnel at Maple Heights City Schools on the southeast side of Cleveland.
An Amherst resident and Steele alumnus, May said the decision to leave was difficult: “I love Amherst and being a graduate of here I have a lot of pride in the community. It’s a hard decision but I think a great move.”
District leadership has long been a career goal; May holds a superintendent’s license and said he aspires to one day head a school system.
At Maple Heights, his new job will involve taking the lead on hires, assessing test data, working on staff development, and evaluating principals.
His last official day at Steele will be July 31.
Since he was hired in 2013 to replace then-principal Michael Gillam, May has restructured the high school schedule and added 19 electives without hiring additional teachers.
Amherst students under his leadership have consistently led area districts in College Credit Plus earnings — in five years, they had earned 9,914 college credits, saving families more than $1.6 million in Lorain County Community College costs, which equates to more than $3.9 million at an Ohio four-year public university, according to a July 5 release.
“I’m very proud that we at the high school as a collective whole were able to work together through what was a great deal of change in the first couple of years. It resulted in amazing things for the students,” May said.
“I think it was through teamwork and camaraderie that people were willing to take on even more work than they already have as educators to make things better for kids. And it was fun at the same time.”
In a written statement, Amherst superintendent Steven Sayers touted May’s “very positive influence on our school community.”
“Among other accomplishments, he helped us expand access to higher education for our students like never before,” he said. “We wish him all the best and know he will make a similar impact on Maple Heights.”
The departure means Steele High will have all-new leadership this fall.
Associate principal Jeanne Kornick and assistant principal Steve Meggitt both resigned this past year.
Assistant principals Joe Tellier and Ashley Harigan were hired in May — the first is a 22-year veteran of the Vermilion Schools and the second has been an administrator in southern Ohio, Florida, and Virginia.
Tellier will be promoted to serve as interim principal for the 2018-2019 school year, pending approval from the board of education on July 16.
An Amherst resident, he served as assistant principal for six years in Vermilion.
“Mr. Tellier’s experience makes him a solid and community-oriented administrator and we are fortunate to have him on our school leadership team,” said Sayers.
May characterized the new principal as “a great guy and very caring” with a positive reputation and work ethic. “I think his positive attitude is going to be outstanding for everybody,” he said.
He’ll spend the next few weeks bringing Tellier up to speed on long-term plans developed over the past few years for Steele, as well as all the details that have to be taken care of for school to open on Monday, Aug. 20.
Despite the changes, May said Steele’s teachers are still the heart and soul of the school.
“The people in that building will do anything to help the kids. They’re all still there. They all still care,” he said. “They’re going to keep doing what they’re doing. They’re outstanding people and outstanding educators.”
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.