John Ritchie, principal and superintendent of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, announced Tuesday he will retire from his post at the end of the school year.
In an e-mail to town administrators in Lincoln and Sudbury, Ritchie explained that by June he would reach the maximum point in the retirement system and he felt it was a natural time to move on. He informed faculty and staff of his decision Tuesday and told the School Committee during a closed session two weeks ago so that they could begin the search process for his replacement.
"We understand why he is leaving, and we appreciate why he is leaving, but we are certainly very sad to see him go," said Jack Ryan, a member of the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School Committee.
Ritchie began working at Lincoln-Sudbury in 1996 and served through a near doubling of the school's enrollment and the construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2004.
During Ritchie's tenure, a student was charged with murder in the fatal stabbing of another student at the school in January 2007. "I think he handled that situation extremely well," Ryan said. "He understood the emotional needs of the students, the L-S community, and the community as a whole during what was a very difficult time."
Ritchie was also credited by parents, staff, and students for the way he responded to heavy student drinking at a home football game this fall. Administrators required students to be accompanied by a parent or other responsible adult to gain admission to the next home game.
Ritchie is the longest serving principal/superintendent in the high school's history, Ryan said.
"I just think he has been an incredible asset to the school," he said.
-- John M. Guilfoil