——— Updated October 27, 9:32 PM ———
Dr. Eddie Ruiz, beloved principal of North Springs Charter High School, will be leaving North Springs and moving to West Palm Beach, Florida to take over a new position as the “Area Director for School Accountability” for the West Palm Beach School District, effective November 9. Last Thursday, on October 22nd, Dr. Ruiz called an emergency meeting after school and informed faculty and staff that he would be leaving North Springs. He then sent home a robocall and an email home as well containing the letter that explained some of his rationale.
As principal of North Springs, Ruiz did many things, including bringing AVID to North Springs, expanding AP enrollment, introducing PBIS/Sparta Bucks, assisting with the vision for the Strategic Plan, and generally increasing school spirit among other things.
Ruiz will be beginning his new job on November 9. He will be moving to Florida over the weekend after the last Friday he will be at North Springs – November 6th. “My wife and kid will move soon after,” said Ruiz. With his new job, Ruiz will be the “Area Director of School Accountability”, but with a looming re-organization in West Palm Beach, he will likely be in a role similar to an Area Superintendent.
His new role will have him looking over three high schools and three middle schools in West Palm Beach, out of the 40 high schools, 39 middle schools, and 200,000 students in West Palm Beach (there are around 100,000 students in the Fulton County School System).
Ruiz just learned of the job opportunity during the week of October 12-15. He had contacts within West Palm Beach – Dr. Avossa and Dr. Christiansen, Avossa, who was the previous Superintendent of Fulton County Schools and Christiansen who was Ruiz’s mentor and principal when Ruiz was working in Florida as a middle school assistant principal. While Ruizwished he could have stayed longer at North Springs and wished he did not have to leave so early, the job offer required him to leave earlier than expected.
When asked about his greatest accomplishment, Ruiz hesitated, seemingly deep in thought, and after a moment, remarked, “I think that my greatest accomplishment was bringing in the three Cs: Culture, Communication, and Consistency”. He thoroughly elaborated, “We were able to get more involved in the community. We had an increase in the number of students coming here… and we became entrenched in our community. With communication, I think our weekly updates helped and tours,” said Ruiz, “With consistency, I think that was another big thing we were able to do. We were able to put systems in place: discipline, tardies, and bell schedule,” continued Ruiz. “Because of the good communication, the good consistency, we were able to create a good culture. The school spirit and morale have gone up,” finished Ruiz.
The Interim Principal will hopefully begin on November 9, but “it is tough to find a qualified person who is available”, said Gonzalo LaCava, the Central Learning Community’s Area Superintendent. Fulton County Policy requires a retired principal to take over as the interim principal, yet naturally in November, it is more tough to do. Nevertheless, an interim principal will be named until the new principal is hired. “We are commencing a national search [for a new principal],” continued LaCava. There is a rigorous process that goes into hiring a new principal, which includes many interviews, personality testing, school fit tests, and interviews with members of the school community. “Hopefully we can get someone in here by the time second semester is here,” concluded LaCava.
Ruiz plans on coming to graduation in the spring. “I also plan to attend the juniors’ graduation. That is the thing I wish I had the chance to do: see seniors and juniors graduate,” remarked Ruiz, “I can’t guarantee I will be there for the sophomores though,” continued Ruiz.
Ruiz was well-liked by students. “I will miss him so much. He made me put in effort and motivated me to succeed in school and in my life,” said junior Raiya Collon.
Ruiz is going to miss the students too. When asked about the thing he will miss the most, without taking a breath, instantly remarked “the kids”.
“Dr. Ruiz changed my life. He impacted me so much. He made me want to come to school in the morning,” effused senior Akhairi Breland.