Clete Edmunson, a longtime Idaho educator and political insider, resigned suddenly as New Plymouth High School’s principal on Tuesday, the district’s superintendent said.
In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Superintendent Kevin Barker said he received a letter of resignation from Edmunson.
Edmunson worked a normal day Tuesday, but won’t be back at the school Wednesday.
“He worked the whole day today, and it was his last day,” Barker said.
When asked if Edmunson’s resignation was voluntary, Barker said “Yes, absolutely.”
Barker did not release Edmunson’s letter of resignation to Idaho Education News, citing potential personnel and privacy issues. In describing the letter, Barker said Edmunson indicated that he had other opportunities to pursue, but did not elaborate.
“Certainly (the timing) was somewhat out of the norm, absolutely,” Barker said. “When somebody wants to move forward to do other things, certainly we’re going to allow them to pursue other interests.”
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Efforts to reach Edmunson on his cell phone for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.
New Plymouth’s school board still must formally accept Edmunson’s resignation, Barker said.
Barker said he planned to notify the faculty of Edmunson’s resignation during a meeting Wednesday and he will lead New Plymouth High for the rest of the current school year.
“We don’t have a vice principal (to step in), but what we do have is a very strong administrative team and staff in all of our buildings,” Barker said. “The staff will absolutely be able to continue the outstanding education we provide to our students.”
Edmunson has a long history in New Plymouth. In 1994, he began teaching government and coaching football, basketball and track.
After about eight years in the classroom, Edmunson won a seat in the Idaho Legislature. He served in the Legislature from 2003-2008, teaching and coaching in the fall, then taking unpaid leave to serve in the Legislature each winter.
Edmunson then left teaching and coaching to work for Gov. Butch Otter, first as a field representative, then as Otter’s special assistant, advising the governor on education and transportation issues.
Edmunson left politics to return to the classroom, stopping first in Murtaugh, then returning to New Plymouth. He served as principal of New Plymouth High School since 2015, taking over for Barker when Barker was promoted to superintendent.
During his tenure, Edmunson and other New Plymouth officials partnered with local businesses to pioneer the use of dual credit, concurrent enrollment and other advanced educational opportunities before they took off statewide.