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WHS principal resigns

WILLCOX — High School Principal Jeff Thompson has found a new job and offered his thanks to Willcox for the good times.

Thompson told the Range News the hour-long commute from his home to work has taken its toll and it was time for him to move along.

“The big reason is my health and the drive,” he said. “The drive was just wearing on me. Willcox has come a long way, so I took a new job in Benson, which is only 29 or 30 minutes from my house.”Thompson has worked with WUSD for six years, coming from Ohio.

“I think we have Willcox going in the right direction. The scores have gone up every year as far as the assessment scores, and the kids have responded. I always treated Willcox as a home away from home. And my door was always open and I give the community, and my bosses and staff, a lot of credit for letting me come in and making me feel at home,” Thompson said.

WUSD Superintendent Kevin Davis explained to Range News that when looking for a new principal, most schools start searching in January. However, since Thompson left later in the year, the district will probably hire an individual from within the district on an interim basis.

“Mr. Thompson decided to move on, and we’re sorry to see him go. It’s late in the summer to find someone outside of the district, so we have posted the job opening for a qualified candidate on our website. My hope is that we can find someone in the district,” Davis said.

“We really need to get going, so what I would like to do is leave the job posting up, conduct interviews — as many as possible — and then have a decision made (as to whom to hire as a replacement) to recommend to the board at the July 2 board meeting,” he continued.

WASA announces incoming director

WILLCOX — The Willcox Against Substance Abuse monthly meeting introduced Alicia Hernandez as the incoming director, who will be training under the retiring Sally White.

The WASA board approved the application of Hernandez at last Friday’s meeting. This training will stretch over a two- year time period and will begin in July.

“I am very excited to begin my new journey with WASA. Working with mental health and substance abuse is something I feel very passionate about. I hope to help WASA grow to better fit the needs of our community as well as surrounding communities,” Hernandez said. “I also (hope to) improve our resources and bring additional awareness to mental health and substance abuse issues.”

“I realize I’m probably too old to be doing this. I’m also having a little trouble letting go — it’s my baby. We started WASA 31 years ago, and I want to know it’s going to be strong when I walk out,” White said.

Hernandez previously worked for Community Medical Services in Safford and, over the past few years, has worked with the Willcox Unified School District.

City burns the mulch

WILLCOX — There was a fire Tuesday morning behind the golf course on Fairway Lane in Willcox, but it was purposely set and contained to the city’s mulch pile.

“That’s the compost pile that we have to get rid of. It’s just the dry brush and stuff that people bring from the town and county. We burn it about every three months. We try to burn it. It’s just dry limbs, grass, tumbleweeds and stuff like that,” said Street Supervisor Gary Adams.

Crews worked to safely contain the fire and tidy up the area Tuesday morning.