Less than three months into his new role as Harvest Park Middle School principal, Ethan Cheever has announced his resignation effective next Friday, Sept. 30.
The decision was first publicized in a letter Cheever emailed out to the Harvest Park community Wednesday afternoon, saying he has accepted a position closer to home and family. Cheever did not specify what that position is and could not be reached for comment Thursday.
"It was an incredibly difficult decision, but I wanted to let you know that I have accepted a position closer to home and family," Cheever said in the letter. "While I have loved my time at the site, my position and the demands thereof have been very hard on my family much more so than was anticipated."
Cheever added that while he will miss the Harvest Park community, being closer to home will allow him to spend more time with his family.
"I have learned a lot during my time here, especially about the Pleasanton community," Cheever said. "I am very thankful to those that have helped and supported me, and I will do everything I can to support my successor to make a smooth and easy transition."
Pleasanton Unified School District spokesman Patrick Gannon said Cheever notified the district of his decision within the last week. Gannon added that Cheever alone made the decision to leave and that the district did not know of any other reasons behind his departure. He did not know where Cheever was headed next.
In a press release late Wednesday, Pleasanton School Superintendent Rick Rubino said that he would recommend Robin Munsell as the new Harvest Park principal to the school board when it meets Tuesday night.
Munsell has spent the last four years as the assistant principal of Gale Ranch Middle School in San Ramon. Before going to San Ramon, Munsell spent seven years as an English teacher in Castro Valley.
"We have thoroughly vetted Robin Munsell through a rigorous interview process that included staff and parents from the Harvest Park Middle School community, as well as through a finalist interview with the superintendent's cabinet," Rubino said. "We firmly believe that Robin Munsell will bring a strong background in instructional leadership to Harvest Park Middle School."
Munsell said via email Thursday she would rather not comment on her Harvest Park candidacy until after the school board meeting.
Munsell emerged from the Harvest Park job interview process in June as a top finalist, but ultimately Cheever was selected for the position according to Gannon. When the district learned of Cheever's plans to resign, officials mulled over a number of options for replacing him, Gannon said.
"The other options that were discussed were that we could have an interim principal, or we could have had a retiree come in for a period of time," Gannon said. "The district chose to go back to the top candidates that were recently considered in June, and Robin was selected from that group."
A prospective start date for Munsell has not yet been identified.
If selected by the school board, Munsell would be Harvest Park's sixth principal in a little over a year.
In summer 2015 former principal Ken Rocha was promoted to director of education for the district's elementary and middle schools. Jill Butler was selected as interim principal for the school year, but due to some district-level resignations that led to administrative vacancies, she was then appointed Pleasanton Middle School's principal. Steve Maher and Amy Theberge took over as interim co-principals last November and served through the end of the school year.
Cheever was named the new Harvest Park principal at a school board meeting in June, one of four new principals in the district this school year. Prior to taking the job in Pleasanton, he served as the principal of Parkside Intermediate School in San Bruno.