Stone Valley Middle School principal Shaun McElroy is resigning this month after 13-plus years leading the Alamo campus in order to become a full-time education leadership coach in the Bay Area.
"I wanted to do something on a larger scale to help education," McElroy, 58, said in an interview Thursday. "Being a (leadership) coach is the most impactful thing we can do to change how education works."
McElroy, principal of Stone Valley since 2002, served almost 33 years as a teacher or administrator in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD). For the past eight years, he was also a part-time leadership coach, working with site administrators in the Bay Area.
Former SRVUSD elementary school principal Jenise Falk will serve as Stone Valley's interim principal through the end of the school year, according to district spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich.
The decision to step down as principal and accept a full-time coaching position occurred somewhat abruptly and came with mixed emotions, according to McElroy. "It was an 'all of a sudden' decision," he said, adding, "And I'm not an 'all of a sudden' kind of guy."
McElroy informed his staff and the school community about his pending resignation on Tuesday.
"With a heavy heart and countless irreplaceable memories I have decided to leave the Alamo community and venture onto a larger educational stage," McElroy wrote in an email to the school community.
"I am forever grateful for the time spent in your service," he added. "I will truly miss the support of our parents, the camaraderie of my colleagues, the warmth and expertise of the staff and more than anything the children who have granted me a great life education."
McElroy's last day at the Miranda Avenue campus will be next Friday (Feb. 27).
An educational presence across the district since the early 1980s, McElroy worked at schools in Danville, San Ramon and Alamo during his SRVUSD tenure.
His experience included being a biology teacher at Monte Vista High, science teacher and later assistant principal at Pine Valley Middle School, assistant principal at California High and a teacher on special assignment for administration at Charlotte Wood Middle School.
In August 2002, he was hired as principal of Stone Valley -- a school he taught at for five years earlier in his career.
"We thank Shaun for his many years of service to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and wish him the best," SRVUSD superintendent Mary Shelton said this week.
McElroy's interim successor, Falk, also has administrative experience in the three SRVUSD communities.
She previously worked as principal of San Ramon's Country Club Elementary and Danville's Greenbrook Elementary. She is also a past vice principal of Iron Horse Middle School in San Ramon and worked at Stone Valley earlier this school year as an interim assistant principal.
District officials are beginning the process of finding Stone Valley's next permanent principal, with the job opportunity open to internal and external candidates, according to Graswich.
"In March, district staff will be meeting with Stone Valley staff and representatives from the parent community," she said. "During these respective meetings, we will be seeking input on the qualities staff and parents would like in the next principal."
The new permanent head administrator is expected to preside over a time of significant change at Stone Valley, with the campus slated to undergo extensive renovations beginning as early as spring 2016.
"That's going to be a great opportunity for the next person to sit in this chair, to guide that process," McElroy said.