SOUTHBRIDGE - Southbridge High School principal Andrae Townsel notified the school community on Monday he is resigning to take a position near his hometown of Detroit.

Mr. Townsel, in his second year as the high school principal, did not reply to a text message seeking comment Monday night.

In his note to the school, he said, "I've been privileged to work alongside some great educators to build a stronger school climate, foster community engagement, and improve student learning.

"I engaged in this work while living more than 600 miles away from my hometown. This evening, the Wayne-Westland Community Schools in Westland, Mich., not far from where I grew up in Detroit, voted to name me as Assistant Superintendent for Culture, Climate, and Social Emotional Learning. I plan to accept the position and begin working at a date to be determined."

The departing principal went on to say he's sad to leave and fell in love with the town.

"However, my children do not have the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents and cousins outside of annual holidays. I now have an opportunity to focus on my family, which is important. Life is short and time is precious."

Recent high administrative turnover, including in the high school principal post, was one of many reasons cited in the state's takeover of the chronically underperforming school district in January 2016.

Mr. Townsel's announcement comes on the same day that the district's new state-appointed receiver, Jeffrey Villar, began working.

Mr. Villar, in a note to school staff, praised the outgoing principal.

He wrote: 

"For the past two years, Dr. Andrae Townsel, a Michigan native, has served as principal of Southbridge High School, doing great work aimed at building a stronger school climate, fostering student engagement, and improving student learning.

"He has done all this while living more than 600 miles away from his hometown. This evening, the Wayne-Westland Community Schools in Westland, Mich., not far from where Dr. Townsel grew up in Detroit, voted to name Dr. Townsel assistant superintendent for culture, climate, and social emotional learning. He plans to accept the position and begin work at a date to be determined.

 "I think he can describe his decision best. He told me, "I am very sad to leave here. I really fell in love with this place. However, my children never get the opportunity to spend time with their grandparents and cousins outside of annual holidays. I now have an opportunity to focus on my family. That is important. Life is short and time is precious."

 

 

 

I am disappointed that Dr. Townsel is leaving Southbridge, but I hope you will join me in wishing him well as he pursues this unique opportunity near his hometown. He leaves a strong team in place, and we will work together to continue improving Southbridge High School.