It was a somewhat stunning announcement on Tuesday morning at Switzerland County High School.
Mark Boggs, current assistant principal and athletic director at the high school; and varsity coach of the Lady Pacer basketball team, announced that he is stepping down from his coaching duties and will be taking over as Principal at Switzerland County Middle School beginning in July.
The middle school prinicpal’s job opened when current principal, Sean McGarvey, announced his intention to return to the classroom beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.
“I have accepted the transfer to the middle school to become the principal there, and along with that, I’ve resigned the girls varsity basketball position,” Boggs said on Tuesday morning. “I’ll be back at the middle school, where I started my career.”
And it was a very difficult decision.
“It was an extremely tough decision,” Boggs said. “Mr. Hite (Superintendent Rod Hite) and I talked over the weekend, once Sean decided to go back to the classroom. He (Hite) knew that I had a history at the middle school, so he wanted me to think about it. I definitely thought about it. Prayed about it. Talked with my family about it. I felt like I woke up Sunday morning with my answer in my mind. I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m going to miss this staff. I’m going to miss the girls on the basketball team. I’m going to miss everything about the high school — but I’m also going to enjoy getting back to the middle school and working with many of the teachers who I started my career with.”
After reaching the decision, Boggs said that he met with his team and his coaching staff during home room period on Tuesday morning to deliver the news.
“I feel like the basketball position is going to be in good hands, whomever takes it over,” Boggs said. “We’ve got a good staff that I believe will stick around. I definitely think the position is set up well for the next coach. In my four years we went from five wins to 12 wins to 15 wins to 18 wins. Every year we got progressively better. Unfortunately we never won a Sectional, but I feel like we put a great product on the court; and I’m very excited to see what this group is going to accomplish next season.”
Boggs said that both his coaching position and his assistant principal/athletic director positions will be opened up for applications, and that he expects strong candidates to step forward.
“It’s definitely a lot of late nights, but it’s also a very rewarding job, as well,” Boggs said of the athletic director job. “I will tell you that it’s definitely going to take a Pacer that’s willing to put in the time and put in the work and see all of our athletics continue to excel.”
As he looks forward to his new job, Boggs also has strong feelings about the staff he’s leaving behind at the high school.
“This staff welcomed me with open arms,” he said.”It’s a tremendous staff. It’s a staff that I’ve learned from throughout the three years I’ve been here. That was one of the hard decisions in leaving was leaving an environment where you felt so connected. On the flip side, I feel like I’m moving into a position where I have that connection, as well.”
Boggs is a graduate of Switzerland County High School and Indiana University. He has been a part of the Switzerland County faculty for 19 years.
His first six years were spent at the middle school teaching students with special needs. From there he moved to the math classroom for 10 years at the middle school. This is his third year as the assistant principal and athletic director.
He and his wife, LeeAnn, have two daughters: Carlee and Claire.
“You have your reservations, but you have your excitement at the same time,” Boggs said. “I’m very excited about this opportunity. I’m very fortunate and I thank Superintendent Hite and the School Board for affording me this opportunity.”
As Boggs transitions to the principal’s office at the middle school, current principal Sean McGarvey readies himself to move back into the classroom at the start of the next school year.
“I am going back into the classrom — at least for right now,” McGarvey said. “I’ll still be here (in the principal’s chair) for a little while longer.”
McGarvey will be teaching seventh grade social studies at the middle school.
“It was a big decision,” McGarvey said. “It didn’t come lightly. It took a little bit of soul searching. They say change happens all the time. We’ll see where it takes us.”
McGarvey said that one positive aspect of the move back into the classroom is that it will provide more time for he and wife, Lesa (a first grade teacher at Jefferson-Craig) to chase son Aiden, who is involved in several travel team sports.
“Absolutely, I’ll have a little more time to hang out with him and be with him and things like that,” McGarvey said. “That’s going to be one really big positive, for sure.”
McGarvey said that he’s been pondering the decision to go back into the classroom for awhile.
“In the last few weeks, it kind of really came to my mind,” he said. “We have some social studies openings here at the middle school. Cory Bougher is getting transferred back over to the high school; and eighth grade social studies opened up. I’ve always wanted to go back into the classroom, so there’s an opportunity that may not be there in the future. You never know, you might hire a social studies teacher that may stay for a year or they may stay for 20 years.”
The loss for the Switzerland County administration team is a gain for Switzerland County students, as McGarvey has always been one of the most popular teachers among students — so his move back will allow him to have more one to one contact.
“Absolutely,” he said. “In our building right now, the teachers are affecting the students a lot more than I will, because they have those opportunities to develop true relationships with the students.”
McGarvey said that he told his staff of his decision on Monday after school.