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Crestview High School principal announces retirement

| Randy Dickson
Crestview High School Principal Jay Sanders has announced he will be retiring at the end of the school year. His last day on the job will be around June 30. Sanders, a 1981 Crestview graduate, has been the Crestview principal for two years and said the decision to retire didn’t come easy.
Jay Sanders has spent a large part of his life at Crestview High School as a student, teacher and administrator. Sanders has announced he’ll be retiring at the end of the year.

“I think a lot of things (went into the decision),” he said. “It’s just a feeling of when you know it’s time.

“I came into this position and my intention was to work five to six years. I had a plan, but you know, God has his plan. It was a difficult position; I’ll say that for sure.”

He admitted that his wife, Stephanie, retiring from her long career with the Okaloosa County School District played a small part in the decision. The opportunity to spend more time with his grandchildren before they start school was also part of it.

Sanders stressed that Stephanie was supportive in whatever decision he had made.

The love Sanders has for Crestview High School pours through when he speaks of the school.

“I came here and loved being at Crestview High School,” he said. “I did the best job I could. My first year was very difficult because it was probably the worst year with COVID.

“This year was much better. I think I would want my legacy to just be the progress we’ve made. I continued to set the table for the next person to come in.”

Sanders loves the fact that despite its size, Crestview still has a small town feel and that it is a one high school town.

“There is one high school for all Crestview and so that’s just so, so special and important,” he said. “I love that everybody here is a Crestview Bulldog. Everybody’s kids here, for the most part, are Crestview Bulldogs.

“I think that just gives us that special feel that it’s really still a small town,” Sanders added.

Prior to taking over as the Crestview principal, Sanders was principal at Davidson Middle School.

When asked what advice he might give to his successor, or any principal for that matter, he centered in on the students.

“Just try to always make every decision based on what’s best for the students,” he said. “If in everything you do, you always decide on is in the best decision of the kids, I don’t think you can go wrong.

“For my eight years as a principal, that’s what I’ve always tried to live by,” Sanders added.

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