Pine River-Backus High School Principal Andrew Forbort left the PR-B district June 30 to become an assistant principal with the Grand Rapids School District.

Forbort said it had always been a family goal to move to Grand Rapids.

"I used to live there and we have relatives there and in the area," Forbort said. "We always had it in the back of our mind at some point we would pursue an opportunity there. This one just happened spur of the moment."

Forbort said the Grand Rapids School District opened the position in May, and the board officially hired him June 26.

He said the decision to leave PR-B was not an easy one.

"Grand Rapids is the only district that could have ever pulled me away from Pine River-Backus," Forbort said. "I was honored two years ago to be given this opportunity, having just finished my administrative license, to become principal of Pine River-Backus. I felt hesitant even when my family made the decision because of all the things PR-B has done for me, personally, professionally and just with the quality of the district. I admire the people and I wish them the best. I hope they find someone of great quality that can keep moving in the right direction. It's a great place."

The school administration wasted no time beginning the search for a new high school principal. The position was declared open June 26 and the district received applications almost immediately.

"We have received quite a number of applications already, actually, and the quality seems to be very good," Superintendent Dave Endicott said. "We are excited about the possibilities and are confident we will find a very good candidate."

Endicott said he wants the new principal to be able to participate in summer training opportunities alongside co-workers.

"At the end of July there is a data retreat where the leadership team will be with NJPA (National Joint Powers Alliance), and I think if we could have that person in place to spend some time with that team and get them moving forward, that would be good," Endicott said. "Obviously that might not happen depending on the timing of who we get and where they are at."

While the district is moving forward quickly, Endicott said the district will miss Forbort.

"We are sad to see Andy go. He's been an important part of our learning community. While we are happy for him to find a great opportunity for his family, we hate seeing him go," Endicott said. "Mr. Forbort has been an excellent instructional leader for us. He's done a wonderful job and was very strong in being engaged in not only our learning community at school but the community at large. He had a lot of activities and good connections with kids. Grand Rapids is getting a strong candidate and strong person with the right heart for education. We're sad to see him go but we wish him the best of luck."

The application window will remain open until July 9. The district hopes to begin review of applicants July 10, conduct interviews July 13 and begin possible second interviews July 17.

"If all goes well, and that's a big if, the hope is to maybe have a contract to present to the board on the meeting for Monday night, July 17," Endicott said.

PR-B hired Forbort in the summer of 2015 when former high school principal Trent Langemo accepted that same position at Kasson-Mantorville High School. Previously, Forbort worked at St. Francis Public Schools as a teacher and coach.