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Principal for year asks for new job

James Hughes waited 12 years to move from the school district office back to the principal's chair at an elementary school.

Now, just one year later, he has asked for a new position.

Hughes, the principal at Hernando Elementary School, has asked Superintendent Pete Kelly to appoint him assistant principal at Hernando, which Kelly has agreed to recommend, Hughes said.

"There are some areas in my life I'd like to be able to focus on, including family and church life," said Hughes, who was hired to replace longtime Hernando principal Kevin Banks.

Hughes has spent 25 years with Citrus schools, including an 18-month stint as superintendent and 10 years as assistant superintendent. He was also district planning director for six months.

When he stepped down from the superintendent's post, Hughes cited unspecified health concerns.

Before Hughes moved into the district office, he worked as a teacher and was principal of Floral City Elementary and the county's alternative school.

When he returned to the schools _ and to direct contact with teachers, staff and students _ last year, he said he was excited to be back in the trenches of public education.

"What you do at the district level is very important," Hughes said at the beginning of the 1997-98 school year, "but here you have that personal connection with students and parents."

Times have changed, but the children are essentially the same, he said.

"Kids come into school with their hopes and dreams, and we do the best we can to meet those," Hughes said.

The time commitment required for the job is part of Hughes' desire to seek the assistant principal's post, he said.

"The principalship is a full-time job," Hughes said.