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Amherst Regional Middle School principal resigns

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  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Michael Hayes, principal of Amherst Regional Middle School who is on leave, has resigned effective Dec. 31.
  • GAZETTE FILE PHOTO<br/>Michael Hayes, principal of Amherst Regional Middle School who is on leave, has resigned effective Dec. 31.

Michael Hayes, who is halfway through a one-year leave of absence from his position as principal of the Regional Middle School, has resigned as of Dec. 31.

He cited personal reasons for his decision, according to an email message from Superintendent Maria Geryk to School Committee members. There are several factors that led to his decision, including “finding balance in life,” Geryk quoted Hayes as saying.

Hayes was 37 and had been principal for just under two years when he announced in March that he would take a yearlong leave starting in July. He said he had been working 60 to 70 hours a week and wanted to spend more time with his two young daughters. His wife, Sarah Hayes, returned in September to her job in the district as a math teacher. She now teaches at Amherst Regional High School.

Betsy Dinger, who has been interim principal, will assume the permanent position, Geryk said.

“We are so appreciative of Mr. Hayes’ many contributions over the years to the Regional Middle School and to the district as a whole,” Geryk wrote in her message. “We wish him only the best as he begins this new chapter in his professional life.”

Katherine Appy, who chairs the Amherst School Committee, said she was not aware of any other job that Hayes is taking.

“I think Mike did wonderful things for the middle school and had a significant impact on making it the wonderful place it is now,” she said. “I wish him the best. He’ll go places in his professional life. I’m thrilled to hear that Betsy Dinger will take the position of permanent principal because I think it will make the transition easy and she’s proven herself to be a wonderful leader.”

Hayes had worked at the school for 14 years. He is on a 90 percent leave and still involved in some aspects of running the school, Geryk said. He will receive 10 percent of his $103,193 annual salary through the end of the month.

Hayes could not be reached for comment.

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