Leeds Elementary School will open its doors next school year with a new principal after Michael McKee announced he has accepted a position with another school system.

McKee was first hired with the Leeds City School System as an assistant principal at Leeds Middle School. In 2007, he became the principal at LES.

McKee has accepted a principal position at Northside Intermediate School, which is part of the Opelika City School System. For McKee, the position provides an opportunity to return to his roots. He attended sixth grade at the school he will now be working in, he has taught in the school system, and his mother still lives in the community.

“If you had asked me a month ago, I would have said I’d retire at LES,” McKee said. “I truly love it here; it has become a second home to me. But, this opportunity was too good to pass up. It’s a chance to go back home.”

McKee’s last official day with the system will be June 8.

“We are going to miss Mr. McKee,” said Leeds Superintendent John Moore. “But, we completely understand that this is an opportunity for him to go home. We appreciate the time he spent here with us in Leeds.”

Moore gave high praise for McKee’s tenure at LES, citing that the school met AYP goals each year and guided the school through three phases of renovation.

“He always handled the stress of his situations with a real sense of purpose and planning. We are losing a very good person and a very good principal,” Moore added.

The school system has already begun the process of advertising to fill the now-vacant principal’s position and is currently collecting applications.

“We are certainly looking for a candidate with an instructional focus, strong management skills, and someone who works well with students, teachers and the community,” the superintendent said.

Moore added that he felt the board would ultimately have a strong list of candidates based on the school’s renovations and its for what he described as the school’s “outstanding reputation.”

As for the departing principal, McKee said he would always be a part of the “Green Wave Nation.”

“It has been an honor for me to work in this school system. We have some of the smartest people at LES and a wonderful staff. I appreciate that this community has made a commitment to education. The Leeds City School System has become the best unkept secret in the Birmingham area.”

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