BRHS’s first principal to resign June 30 |

BRHS’s first principal to resign June 30

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Dick Werntz, the first and only principal at Bear River High School, has announced his resignation 16 years after the school welcomed its first students.

“It was time,” Werntz said Wednesday. “I love Bear River High School, and it’s very, very hard to let go. It’s been a great ride.” He will step down June 30.

The high school program he started building in 1985 is like a teen-ager who has grown into adulthood, he said. “It seems like a perfect time to retire.”

“I’m going to be 58 (in May) – not 48 or 38,” Werntz said, who wants to take a cross-country trip on his BMW motorcycle to Nova Scotia this summer. “I’m going to take a little breather this summer and leave my options open.”

Maggie Deetz, a Bear River assistant principal, will become the school’s new principal July 1, Joe Boeckx, superintendent for the Nevada Joint Union High School District, said Wednesday.

Deetz was previously scheduled to become principal at Sierra Foothill High School, the district’s continuation school in Grass Valley, on July 1.

Instead, Nevada Union High School Principal Marilynn Keeble will head Sierra Foothill, said Boeckx, who praised her work at NU.

NU Assistant Principal Trisha Dellis will be transferred to Bear River, Boeckx said.

The district will soon begin a statewide search for a new NU principal and three assistant principals, Boeckx said.

The district wants to develop vocational and multi-generational programs at Sierra Foothill, and Keeble has the expertise to bring such programs together, he said.

Before becoming NU’s principal in 1999, Keeble was principal at Silver Springs High School, an alternative school on McCourtney Road.

Werntz will be missed, Boeckx said.

“He put his life and soul into that school,” he said, adding that he believes Werntz worked as many as 80 hours a week.

“(Werntz) is a person who sets and meets goals. He’s a visionary. I’m really, really sorry to see him retire,” Boeckx said.

Werntz said he decided to retire after discussing the matter with his wife. “I surprised myself,” he said.

But the school will be in good hands, said Werntz, who may coach freshman football or basketball, or maybe both – “if they take me,” he joked.

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