Thoreau Middle School Principal Mark Greenfelder announced Tuesday night he would leave Thoreau Middle School to become principal of West Springfield High School, his alma mater.
Greenfelder, who has been at Thoreau for eight years, will start as head of West Springfield on Dec. 1.
The physical education teacher-turned-administrator said there were "few positions that could have drawn me away from the Thoreau community" and his new spot at West Springfield, where he graduated in 1987, was one of them.
"When I first came to Thoreau, I never envisioned my tenure being this long; however, Thoreau quickly became a part of me," Greenfelder wrote in a letter to parents and community members. "Please know that this decision was not an easy one, but I am confident that the outstanding staff, teachers, parents, and community members will continue the mission of excellence that is the very foundation of our school."
Greenfelder, who was a finalist for 2011 Fairfax County Public School Principal Of The Year, helped grow a business partner relationship with Navy Federal Credit Union. In 2008, the Minority Student Achievement Oversight Committee (MSAOC) recognized Thoreau for their progress in closing the achievement gap for Black and Hispanic students.
He also began the school's Honors-For-All initiative.
"Thoreau is truly an exceptional place, and I have often told people that I have the best job in all of Fairfax County Public Schools," Greenfelder said. "It is the absolute perfect combination of dedication and community."
An acting principal, not yet named, will take Greenfelder's place as the search for a new Thoreau principal begins. Cluster Superintendent Jim Kacur will hold a parent meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 in the school's library to explain the process and get input on the community's needs.
"I receive so much credit and so many accolades for Thoreau’s successes, but, quite frankly, they are because of the staff’s effort, not mine," Greenfelder said. "The teachers at Thoreau continually strive for improvement in practice and performance, and their tireless effort and dedication have consistently furthered our students’ achievement. I leave Thoreau proud of the culture that has been established, proud of the work that I have led, and so incredibly thankful for the opportunity."