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Jeff Yost, principal of Woodson High School, announced his plans to retire at the end of September in a letter to the school community Monday.

Yost has served as head of the Fairfax school for seven years. The letter does not state a reason for Yost’s retirement. Yost said the announcement came with “mixed emotions,” as he looked forward to spending more time with his family but would miss his bond with Woodson students and staff.

In the past three years, Yost has led a school rocked repeatedly by tragedy. Six students from the school have died by apparent suicide since 2011, including two this February.

“We have laughed together and cried together but this is a job I would not have traded for any other,” Yost said in the letter. “I truly feel that I was supposed to be here during these times of highs and lows and to support and celebrate with our students.”

Dan Meier, a former guidance counselor who retired as principal of Robinson Secondary School last year, will serve as acting principal at Woodson until a permanent replacement is found. Meier was part of a five-person mental health response team joined the high school at the end of April to provide extra support for students in the wake of the two student deaths.

“Dan knows first-hand of the commitment and support he will receive from our teachers, staff members and families,” Yost said in the letter. “I am confident that I am leaving Woodson in excellent hands.”

The full text of Yost’s message to the Woodson community is available below.



Dear Woodson Families,

Life is built on change. For the past seven years, it has been an honor and privilege for me to serve as principal at Woodson High School and that is why it is with mixed emotions I am informing you of my plans to retire as your principal at the end of September. I will miss all of you very much - students, families, and staff, alike. On the other hand, I am excited to spend more time with my family and to have the opportunity to pursue other interests.

The Woodson community has touched me very deeply. We have laughed together and cried together but this is a job I would not have traded for any other. I truly feel that I was supposed to be here during these times of highs and lows and to support and celebrate with our students. It has been a truly enriching experience primarily because of the wonderful people that make up the Woodson family. If you do it right it’s a 24/7 job. My dedicated and talented staff have always understood that we are here for the students – to provide for them and to help them succeed academically, socially and emotionally.

Starting this week I will begin a process of moving my responsibilities to my friend and retired colleague, Dan Meier. Dan, who joined the Woodson team in April, will serve as acting principal and will remain in that position until a permanent replacement is named. Dan and I will work side by side over the next six weeks, with guidance from our Region 5 assistant superintendent, Frances Ivey, to ensure a smooth transition as we begin another exciting and challenging school year. Dan knows first-hand of the commitment and support he will receive from our teachers, staff members and families. I am confident that I am leaving Woodson in excellent hands.

I am proud of our accomplishments but, more importantly, I take with me lasting friendships with students, staff and families. Thank you for all you do to make Woodson a very special place.



Sincerely,

Jeff Yost, Principal

Woodson High School



kyanchulis@fairfaxtimes.com