Richard Montgomery High School principal Nelson McLeod, facing a cardiac medical condition, has decided to step down from his position at the Rockville school.
“It is with mixed emotion that I inform you that effective June 30, 2014, I will no longer continue to serve as the principal of Richard Montgomery High School due to my medical condition,” McLeod said in a May 28 message sent to members of the school community.
McLeod, who has held the position since 2008, had been on extended leave for about six weeks when he made the announcement.
He said that becoming the school’s principal was “the greatest professional honor in my educational career.”
“Our school community is an engaging and vibrant environment with a rich tradition of academic excellence,” he said in the community message. “I continue to be impressed by our dedicated staff who work tirelessly to support our students and parents.”
Afie Mirshah-Nayar, the school’s acting principal, said that during his time as principal, McLeod has been “an outstanding advocate” for all students.
“He’s a visionary leader,” she said. “He has always had his eye on student achievement and really has high expectations for students in the building.”
McLeod’s work, she said, has included a focus on college readiness, in particular helping students prepare for the ACT and SAT tests. He also helped expand the school’s Middle Years Program so currently all ninth- and 10th-graders have access to the program.
McLeod would frequently meet with members of the student government and also chat with students he met in the hallway, she said.
“He was in the hallways at lunch, he was in the hallways in the morning, so he would have those informal conversations with kids as he saw them in the hallways,” she said.
Pat Wolff, the school’s parent-teacher association president, said the group has always found McLeod to be supportive.
As pedestrian safety in Richard Montgomery’s high-traffic area posed a reoccurring issue, the PTA members worked with McLeod on improvements to the school grounds and surrounding area, she said.
“We found him to be an advocate for both our school and for every student no matter what their academic ability or economic background or family situation,” she said. “He looked out for everyone.”