SPRING HILL - Unable to find a suitable replacement for soon-to-retire Springstead High School principal Susan Duval, Hernando County School District administrators requested in early July that Duval stick around until the end of the school year.
The question was brought up by Superintendent Lori Romano at a cabinet meeting of directors and supervisors, and Assistant Superintendent Ken Pritz made the request, Duval said.
"Mr. Pritz did give me a call, and asked if I'd consider doing that," Duval said. "Some of the reason for Romano wanting me to stay was because she's new to the district, and at that time didn't know us very well, and didn't really want to have to make a change in principals mid-year."
Particularly at a high school as visible as Springstead, Duval said.
"We talked about it, and the very first thing I said is, 'I really have one condition if I do this, which is number one I want to talk to my kids,'" Duval said. "My kids are not happy about it, that I agreed to do this."
Duval said for years she sacrificed time with her family to put in long hours in the principal position and had previously promised her children and grandchildren she planned to retire in January.
"I promise something, I'm going to do it, and they were very excited about it," she said. "I absolutely love Springstead, and I want it to continue on a good solid path, but it's just hard.
"It's hard to leave," she added. "But my kids have been so patient with me all these years."
With reluctance, they understood, Duval said.
"They've gotten the short end of things too many times. They weren't thrilled," she said. "But they know how much these teachers, these kids, the community means to me, so it was a reluctant, 'Yeah, mom.'"
At the same time Duval said she respected Romano, who did not have the proper time to comfortably make a replacement decision for the accomplished high school.
"I figured I could do it for five more months and allow Dr. Romano time to make the best decision possible," Duval said. "It absolutely will not go past June. I will do this, but I will not extend. It's just something, even though I might like to do, it's something I have to do right by my family, and give them as much time as I can."