Though his tenure was just three short years, Los Alamitos High School Principal Grant Litfin managed to become incredibly popular among students, parents and community-members.
So when, he announced his resignation this week, the gasps of disbelief were audible.
“I know the students absolutely and utterly adore their principal, and there will be some big shoes to fill for sure,” said Los Alamitos Unified School District Board Member Diana Hill.
“I know that the board is certainly sad to see him leaving,” added Hill. “He brought in some new energy, and did some great things for the sports programs.”
Litfin will step down in July to accept a position under former Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Gregory Franklin as the Director of Secondary Education in the Tustin Unified School District.
There have been a number of high points during Litfin’s short tenure from multiple and to being ranked and seeing students graduate with athletic scholarships at more than 40 times the national average.
But for Litfin, the best part of the job was working with individual students. The school’s college readiness rate increased by 10 percent, and working with kids who may not have been planning to go to college and guiding them there, is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher or administrator, said Litfin.
“We have terrific kids, who have impressed me since I first got here,” Litfin added.
“The thing I’ll miss the most about Los Alamitos is, honestly, the people,” he said. “I am definitely excited for this opportunity, but it’s also bitter-sweet because I know how wonderful Los Alamitos is….It’s very hard to make this decision. It’s a great opportunity not only for myself but for my family.”
Litfin summarized his feelings in a written announcement to the community this week
“The past three years at LAHS have been some of the most challenging and rewarding of my career, and I've made memories and friends that I will always cherish,” he wrote. “I truly believe this is one of the finest high schools and districts in the country, and it may be the most balanced high school in existence.”
In his new position, Litfin will be one step closer to his ultimate goal of serving as a school district superintendent, but he will still be able to work directly with students and staff, he said.
“It’s a position that we don’t have, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for him,” said Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Sherry Kropp.
As a smaller school district, Los Alamitos Unified sometimes loses talented staff to larger and higher paying districts, officials said.
The district has already begun an accelerated process for hiring a new high school principal to be in place by the end of the fiscal year, said Kropp.
Applicants will go through interviews with a hiring panel and sites visits and will hopefully be in place with enough time to train under Litfin, said Kropp.
“I feel very happy for Grant,” she added. “And I feel confident we’re going to get the right person to follow him.”
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