Jeremie Akins was preparing for the upcoming year at Houston Schools. But he says the opportunity to return home was too much to turn down.
Akins resigned as Houston Middle School principal on July 22 and Friday began his new duties as assistant principal at Buffalo High School. His resignation was officially accepted Thursday night by the Houston school board, who hired former Princeton Superintendent Terry Mayfield as his replacement.
Inside his office in Buffalo on his first official day, Akins said he had mixed emotions about leaving Houston.
“I want Houston to know that I wasn’t so eager to leave that I’d take anything,” he said. “People are allowed to leave if they are moving up in the world or moving home. I chose to move home.”
Akins, who was hired as HMS principal in 2012, said he didn’t pursue leaving. He was contacted July 15 by Buffalo Schools, which was inquiring why he hadn’t applied for the opening in their district. He visited the school on the July 18, was offered the job the next day and confirmed by the school board two days later.
Buffalo High School is the alma matter of Akins’ wife, Tara, and home of the church the couple attended while in college from 1996 through 2002. Jeremie Akins graduated from nearby Skyline.
“We’ve had a decision each year if we were going to try to move back home or chase the money,” Akins said. “It seemed like every year we chased the money and wondered where we would end up. It just felt right to go home, and things kind of clicked.”
Akins met with Houston Superintendent Scott Dill prior to the Buffalo school board meeting to seek his advice – both as his boss and friend. Dill said he gave Akins his blessing to pursue the job.
“We had the option to say no,” Dill said. “In my heart, I felt like this was what was best for Mr. Akins and his family. I trusted that our situation in Houston would work out to the betterment of our kids and that we would be able to move our district forward.”
The Akins family took a few steps of faith in leaving Houston. Tara, who was the family and consumer sciences teacher for grades 6-12 at Houston, does not have a job in Buffalo. They found a renter for their home, but it does not equal the mortgage payment.
Akins put his home on the market earlier this summer, but he says the move was unrelated to leaving Texas County.
“I just want to lay everyone’s suspicions to rest,” he said. “Putting our house on the market was a matter of us trying to get into the country. It is purely coincidental. Everyone who knows me close enough knows that is the truth.”
Although he is happy to be home, Akins stressed that leaving Houston was not easy.
“I still feel the pain of leaving work that I felt was left undone,” he said. “It’s difficult to enjoy the fruits and joy of moving home while feeling like I maybe abandoned my Houston kids and staff. When we treat people like family, it makes it tough to leave them.
“We were making decisions for the next school year and this popped up. It was shocking to me and I’m sure to everyone else. It weighs heavily on my heart.”
I want Houston to know that I wasn’t so eager to leave that I’d take anything. People are allowed to leave if they are moving up in the world or moving home. I chose to move home.”