TAMPA — Wharton High School, a New Tampa institution that is rebuilding after a difficult year marked by a rash of student violence, soon will have a new principal.
Bradley Woods told his faculty and parents Thursday that he will leave when the school year ends.
"I have truly enjoyed my time as the principal at Wharton High School over the past 10 years," Woods, 45, said in his message to parents.
"However, I intend to explore opportunities within our district that will allow me to continue to grow professionally and utilize my skills in a new role."
He said he remains committed to the school, and that "Wharton will always have a special place in my heart."
Woods joined the school district in 1994 as a math teacher at Blake High. He entered administration in 2000 as an assistant principal at Tampa Bay Technical High.
Wharton, which draws from a vast boundary area that extends from the Pasco County line into the North Tampa neighborhoods around the University of South Florida, has struggled over the years with discipline issues among a small percentage of students who fight and disrupt instruction.
Those issues reached a flash point in February, and hundreds of parents turned out to a community meeting on Feb. 19.
They were told the district would send an inspection team to sit in on classes and interview students and teachers.
Since then, school leaders have begun working to improve everything from the quality of classroom instruction to the cleanliness of the restrooms.
The announcement follows five nights of community meetings in which Woods took questions from parents and updated them on plans for next year.
"I wish him the best," said Kristie Scism, a mother of two Wharton students and a candidate for PTSA president.
Scism said she was not surprised to learn Woods is leaving — not because of anything he had done, but because organizations often look for new leadership in troubled times.
"I have always had good conversations with him," she said. "He’s a really nice guy."
Contact Marlene Sokol at (813) 226-3356 or [email protected] Follow @marlenesokol.