April11, 2023

Dear Unity Reed High School Community:

I have some news to share with our Unity Reed School Community. I have recently decided that this school year will be my last year as principal at Unity Reed, which I have served since 2007 for the past 17 years. This was not a decision that I entered into lightly. For one, I have devoted my entire professional career of 30 years to this community, starting as a history teacher in 1994. However, for a variety of reasons, I have decided to take a step back in the twilight of my career and accept a position as an assistant principal to spend more time with my own family, as my two children are about to begin high school, one this fall.

I also have come to the realization that after 30 years at Stonewall Jackson, now Unity Reed, with 22 as an administrator and 17 as the principal, it is time to afford someone else the opportunity to lead this outstanding community. I have wonderful memories, first as a classroom teacher, and I have seen firsthand the changes to our school community due to the opening of three new high schools: Battlefield, Patriot and Gainesville. Each time changing our school boundary and essentially a new beginning, in both rebuilding and rebranding our school community. Most recently, the boundary changes nearly coincided with the name change to Unity Reed High School in 2020. In addition, I have overseen numerous school renovations to our facility, most recently the addition of windows to our school.

Change is never an easy one. I care deeply about the Unity Reed school community, and know that it will thrive in the future, and our numerous programs and extracurricular programs will flourish as well. I started and witnessed the International Baccalaureate program expand from the original Diploma Program in the early 1990s to three programs to include the IB-Middle Years and IB-Career and Related IB Programs. Our AFJROTC program is nationally recognized, along with the addition of Electricity, Firefighting, Aviation Maintenance to our CTE offerings that already included Cosmetology and Project Lead the Way (Engineering). These programs afford your students the opportunity to pursue college and/or a career after graduation. I know that your students will be in excellent hands in the future with a caring and dedicated faculty, one of the many reasons I have spent the last 30 years as a member of this community.

Thank you for affording me the privilege of serving and leading this outstanding community during my career. It has been a blessing to work and meet so many fine students, teachers, and families from diverse backgrounds. I wish Unity Reed and each of your students the best in the future.

I will remain as principal at Unity Reed through June 30, 2024, and am looking forward to our graduation at Jiffy Lube Live and a great end to the 2023-2024 school year.

Lions are Fierce in the Face of Challenges…Every Lion in the Pride!

Richard D. Nichols, Ph.D.
Unity Reed High School