North Hall High School Principal Joe Gheesling said Friday he plans to retire at the end of this school year.
“It’s time. To be quite honest, I want to spend more time with my family,” the 62-year-old said. “I have grandkids down in Florida and I want to be able to go and let them know who their grandpa is. My wife and I want to travel and just be free to do what we want to do at this point while we still have our health.”
Gheesling has been principal of North Hall High since 2008. Prior to that position, he was the principal of Newton High School in Covington.
“There are so many memorable moments, I don’t think there’s any one that really stands out,” he said. “Almost all of them involve students and things that have happened as I interact with our student body here.”
Whenever he walks into a classroom or down the hallway, students shout “Go Trojans!” at him, a tradition, Gheesling recalled, that goes back to the very first pep rally.
“I was talking to them, I was trying to get people fired up and they were kind of sitting there,” he said. “Just as a throwaway line, almost, as I was getting ready to sit down, I just said ‘And go Trojans!’ And the entire student body yelled back ‘Go Trojans!’ And that has really become who we are.”
Before his career in education, he spent 21 years as a pilot in the U.S. Navy, retiring in 1995. His nickname was “Coach,” and it was just assumed that’s what he would be when he retired. He coached football, track and basketball at Eastside High School in Covington before moving into administration.
Superintendent Will Schofield said he plans to recommend the retirement to the board of education at the Jan. 27 meeting.
“We certainly wish Joe the best,” he said. “He’s done a great job. We’ll have a lot of interest in that position. North Hall has an excellent reputation.”
Schofield said he expects a new principal to be in place within six to eight weeks.
“I’m just very thankful for the North Hall community, to my faculty, to the superintendent and board of education,” Gheesling said. “But I tell you what, my biggest appreciation goes out to our students.
“It has really been a blessing for me to be here at North Hall, and they have made it that way.”