A former Blacksburg High School principal whose abrupt departure in May sparked controversy has accepted a 10-month teaching contract with Montgomery County Public Schools, according to district officials.

The contract that Brian Kitts accepted is for the 2019-20 school year, but it remains unclear where exactly he will be teaching.

“Mr. Kitts was issued a 10-month teaching contract. He has signed it and returned it to us,” MCPS spokeswoman Brenda Drake wrote in an email. “As far as I know, we don’t have a placement for him yet. Contracts don’t list a location or grade level.”

Kitts wrote in a message to the Roanoke Times that he’s still exploring leadership opportunities, but that a return to the classroom is a challenge he would embrace.

“I’m a firm believer in public education and have the utmost respect and admiration for teachers who serve on the front lines each day,” Kitts wrote. “I had a great career as both an elementary and secondary principal and enjoyed the opportunity to serve our county in this capacity.

“Despite how things ended, I wouldn’t change the way I conducted business. I took good care of my teachers and they took good care of our kids. At the end of the day, that was good enough for me.” Kitts’ departure in early May sparked a sit-in protest by more than 150 Blacksburg High students who criticized the communication from MCPS on the matter. The departure also prompted criticism from parents, several whom voiced support for Kitts.

MCPS officials didn’t provide reasons for his departure as principal.

“A teacher has different duties and responsibilities than a principal,” Superintendent Mark Miear said in a statement. “Out of respect for Mr. Kitts’s privacy, we will not provide details regarding this reassignment. We know that he will be successful as he continues in his career.”

Similar student and community backlash occurred after former Blacksburg High teacher Bradley Kraft left the school in March. Kraft has since announced that he will be pursuing a doctorate at Virginia Tech.

Kitts was initially slated to leave Blacksburg High after the end of the 2018-19 school year to become the school district’s director of student services. Jason Garretson, who most recently served as principal of Christiansburg Middle School, is now scheduled to fill that central office job.

Drake didn’t provide an exact salary for Kitts, but referred to salary scale charts for teachers and administrative jobs.

Under a 10-month contract, teachers with a bachelor’s degree can earn anywhere from $42,000 to $62,593. The pay ranges are based on steps, or years of experience. The salaries increase along with steps.

Counting “step 0,” the salary scale charts for teachers show a total of 33 steps.

Under the same 10-month contract, teachers with a master’s degree can earn anywhere from $44,427 to $65,774. The range for a teacher with a doctorate is $46,528 to $68,135.

The pay ranges for principals are listed on separate charts.

Under a contract of 2,080 hours a year, an MCPS principal of a high school with an enrollment of over 1,000 can earn from $82,967 to $135,015. That same principal’s pay is calculated on an hourly rate if their contract is for fewer than 2,080 hours.

The rates for contracts with fewer than 2,080 hours range from approximately $39 to $64 an hour.

Blacksburg High’s enrollment for the 2018-19 school year was 1,207, according to figures from the Virginia Department of Education.

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Yann Ranaivo covers local government and politics in the New River Valley, including Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Radford and Montgomery County.

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