Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa would not release the details that led to Donovan’s decision to retire after 34 years with the district but said she “was recently involved in a situation involving the reporting of a student matter.”
“Because it is a personnel issue, I cannot comment further,” he said via email Wednesday. “Since she is eligible, Ms. Donovan elected to go ahead and retire at this time allowing us ample time to find a replacement for the start of the 2012-2013 school year. We look forward to a smooth transition and a continuation of all the things that make Kell High School such an outstanding learning environment.”
He refused to say whether Donovan would have been fired had she not retired.
Donovan was named Kell’s principal in 2006 after serving as an associate principal at Harrison High for four years. She started in the Cobb County School District in 1978 as a teacher at Walton High, where she stayed until 2000.
She also served as an administrative assistant and assistant principal at South Cobb High in her 30-plus years with the district.
Carole Kell, the widow of coach Corky Kell, whom the school is named after, said she is a good friend of Donovan’s and that it will be tough to replace someone as loved by the students, faculty and community as she is.
“The Kell community is losing a truly devoted person who is an excellent administrator. I’m very, very sorry to see her go, but I certainly support her decision to retire at this time,” she said. “The major thing about Trudie, other than her enthusiasm, is the fact that she believed in athletics and academics equally and made a difference in both of those areas and was a friend to every student at that school.”
School board member Kathleen Angelucci, who represents Kell, and the school’s Robotics Team captain, Ed Barker, echoed Kell’s comments about her student commitment.
“I had a good working and personal relationship with her, as a parent and board member, and I have always felt that students were everything to her,” Angelucci said. Both of her daughters attended Kell while Donovan was principal.
Barker said Donovan has been a “great supporter” of his students as well.
“She always put the students first and tried to run a tight ship and make sure everything was fantastic for everybody,” he said.