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Ortiz retires as CHHS principal

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By Kelly Cantrall

Another long-time high school principal in Hardin County Schools is stepping down.

Ron Ortiz, principal of Central Hardin High School, announced his retirement last week to staff and administrators in Hardin County Schools. Ortiz leaves after more than two decades with the school, a decade of which as principal.

His decision comes soon after Bill Dennison, principal of North Hardin High School, retired at the end of the school year.

Ortiz said the time is right to retire. The school had finished a successful year and is on a positive track, he said. With assessment changes coming over the next few years, he said the operation needs someone who would be there during the entire transition.

Ortiz said he hasn’t made decisions about his future plans, but he wants to stay active. He’s a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and was promoted to colonel in April.

Ortiz has worked in Hardin County Schools since 1986, when he began teaching at West Hardin High School. He transferred to Central Hardin in 1990 and became assistant principal in 1994. In 2003, he became principal. That year, he was deployed to Iraq as part of an Army Reserve unit, returning to his position the following year.

He again stepped back from the position for work with the Reserve in 2010 and returned in 2011, after a short stint as principal of Brown Street Alternative Education Center.

Ortiz said he’s proud of initiatives at Central, including programs for reading intervention, dual credit and health science classes. He also has hired talented teachers and coaches, he said, which reflects in academics and sports programs.

He’ll miss the staff and students, he said.

Superintendent Nannette Johnston said the students were Ortiz’s top priority in all decisions.

“Ron’s passion for the education business is strong,” Johnston said. “However, his passion and love for Central Hardin is stronger. He will always be a Bruin and a member of the Hardin County Schools family.”

The search for a new principal begins immediately. The search for a principal for North also is under way.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747.