When school resumed in Booneville Monday there was at least one noticeably absent person.
Though it has not been officially accepted by the Booneville School Board, Booneville High School principal Michael Johnson has tendered his resignation and was not at his post. Johnson’s resignation was effective on Monday.
Instead, Johnson was in Springdale Har-Ber High School — or he would have been were it not for school being canceled for inclement weather — where he will be taking over as the defensive coordinator of the Wildcat football program.
Booneville School’s Superintendent John K. Parrish said it is a little unusual to lose a principal in the middle of the school year but he said Johnson was forthcoming about the situation from the outset.
"Michael told me up front there was a chance he might try to get that job," said Parrish. "The board also knew; they were told at the December board meeting."
"I love Booneville and always will," said Johnson, who became the principal at Booneville in teh 2009-2010 school year. "I just wanted to coach again and got a great opportunity at an elite program. I just couldn’t turn down the opportunity. I love coaching defense and this is against the best in the state."
Springdale Har-Ber is a Class 7A school that plays in the 7A/6A West.
Johnson came to Booneville after serving as a defensive coordinator and later head coach at Ozark. He also coached at Morrilton and was a secondary coach at Ouachita Baptist University, where he was an All-AIC defensive back after graduating from Booneville in 1985.
Parrish said it was uncertain if the position might be filled in the long term.
"When I got here we had 11 administrators," said Parrish. "We were down to nine and a half and now we’re at eight and a half. We’ve lost enough enrollment we are probably in a position to absorb a position."
Still, Parrish isn’t exactly overjoyed that Johnson is leaving.
"Mr. Johnson has done a good job," he said. "He came at a time we needed good leadership in that position and he provided that."
The position absorbed would likely be that of an assistant principal position. Currently, Trent Goff serves as an assistant principal at both Booneville High and Booneville Junior High. On Monday Goff was seated in the principals’ chair.
Parrish said he could not say that Goff has the principal’s job long term because that, like Johnson’s resignation, would have to go through the school board.
The school board next meets on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
There is an additional issue with Johnson leaving. He is also the school’s athletic director. Scott Hyatt is the assistant athletic director.
Parrish said who will have the AD title is uncertain and, again, a matter for the board. However, Parrish added he will be checking to see if Scotty Pierce, currently the BJHS principal, has an interest in the duties.