At a surprise sendoff celebration on Friday, Principal Jeff Albritton said farewell to staff, students and his “baby” – Gregori High School – as he moves into a district administrative role with Modesto City Schools next week.
“We probably had 2,000 kids out here, we extended the lunch period,” he said by phone after the gathering in his honor. “... I’m just incredibly humbled and grateful for the staff we’ve assembled here. Their appreciation was overwhelming.”
Albritton, a high school administrator for nearly two decades, was Davis High School principal in 2007 when he was selected to be the first principal at Gregori, which opened in August 2010. “I got to sit in on phases of construction and work with contractors. I worked with staff to envision what we have going here with our small learning communities and block schedule – those are two accomplishments I’m very proud of.”
So saying goodbye to the school and the people who make it was tough. “Being the principal of Joseph A. Gregori High School has been my greatest joy,” Albritton, 53, wrote in an email to friends and colleagues Wednesday. But the opportunity to become Modesto City Schools’ senior director of alternative and vocational education came at a good time and promises benefits personally and professionally, he said Friday.
“Things are changing in my family’s life, my mom is ill, and the life of a high school principal is sometimes six or seven days a week from 7 in the morning to 10 at night,” he said. “I figured it’s time to step away a bit and support the people at home.”
He called his new position “a great opportunity to influence things happening in our state. With LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan) funding, we have the opportunity to expand some of our district’s career technical programs.
“We’re moving forward with science and tech programs, we’re expanding the robotics program at Beyer. We’re hoping to get an auto program back in our district, at Modesto High, and I’ll be on the front lines of making that happen. ... I’m really looking forward to working with the district in a different way than in the past 19 years as a high school administrator.”
The job Albritton is filling was held by Mike Henderson, who in December accepted the position of senior director, human resources, which had been vacant a long time, said Becky Fortuna, public information officer for Modesto City Schools.
The senior director of alternative and vocational education oversees all Regional Occupational Programs, career technical education, agriculture programs, academies and pathways, Fortuna said.
Brad Goudeau, current associate principal of curriculum and instruction at Gregori, will serve as interim principal for the remainder of the school year. It is likely interviews for the position will occur later this spring, Fortuna said.
In his email to colleagues, Albritton said, “I believe Brad is the ideal choice as the next principal.” He added, “I am very excited for Gregori High School now and into the future. I believe we serve our students extremely well, and that is all I ever hoped for when we started.”
Bee City Editor Deke Farrow can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2327.