The man who guided his football team through a tragedy is the new assistant principal at Fulton’s G. Ray Bodley High School.
The Fulton Board of Education approved the hiring of Jeffrey Charles Tuesday night to the $80,500 position.
Charles fills the vacancy left by Brian Buchanan’s departure. Buchanan had been the high school principal, took a leave of absence last school year and returned as assistant principal. The district said Buchanan left to become a principal at another school.
Charles leaves his position as physical education teacher and football coach at Phoenix High School.
He was the head coach of the team when one of his players, Ridge Barden, collapsed on the field last year during a game against Homer and died.
The tragedy was one of the driving forces behind stronger rules for dealing with athletic head injuries.
Charles began his career as a physical education teacher at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse. He moved to Texas and served as athletic director for one district and eventually as a 9th grade principal for another.
He returned to the area in 2009 and took the physical education job in Phoenix. He holds an administrative certification.
“Jeff brings well-rounded teaching and administrative experience to the position,” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Lynch in a news release announcing the hiring.
“Jeff’s teaching, administrative and coaching experience will enable him to build strong connections with students, faculty and parents,” High School Principal Donna Parkhurst added.
Charles’ first day on the job will be Thursday.