Lake Zurich High School is in the market for a new principal to start in the 2017-18 academic year.
Principal Kent Nightlinger plans to retire after the current academic year. His decision was announced at Thursday night's Lake Zurich Unit District 95 board meeting.
Nightlinger said Friday his pending departure has nothing to do with allegations of hazing by Lake Zurich High football players that surfaced last month. The 31-year educator said he has some ideas on what he'd like to do in retirement, but nothing specific yet.
"I plan on exploring a variety of my interests: music, cooking, theater and attending even more Cubs games," Nightlinger said.
Lake Zurich Unit District 95 Superintendent Kaine Osburn spoke highly of Nightlinger and said he understands the principal's desire to retire.
"It's just a career decision and a life decision for him," said Osburn, who's led District 95 since July. "And as I said, Kent has been a pleasure to work with. He's a warm, kind man who really cares about our kids. And this (principal) job is a hard job."
Nightlinger also addressed his retirement in an email to parents and guardians of Lake Zurich High students. He said he's considered it "an honor and a privilege" to be the principal since the 2013-14 academic year, and complimented co-workers and the "involved, caring and supportive" parents and guardians.
"However, the highlight of this position has been the opportunity to work with the talented and friendly students that have walked through the halls of LZHS these past four years," Nightlinger added. "From the beginning, they have been welcoming, polite, and very willing to share their thoughts about their school and their education."
Osburn said District 95 will begin seeking Nightlinger's replacement next month. He said district officials and others will work together to form a profile of what's desired in the new leader.
District 95 board President Doug Goldberg said Nightlinger's service to the high school has been appreciated.
"He's always impressed me as someone who truly cares about the kids that are here in this (high school) building," Goldberg said. "It's a big responsibility to be principal of a high school, certainly one that's a high-performance one like Lake Zurich is."
Nightlinger worked as associate principal at Rolling Meadows High School from 2004 to 2013 when he returned for a second run in Lake Zurich. He went to Rolling Meadows after his first stint at District 95 from 2001 to 2004.
He began his education career in 1985 as a band and choral director for Dupo Unit District 196 in Illinois near St. Louis.