WHITEWATER — The Whitewater Unified School District School Board aims to find an interim replacement for Superintendent Mark Elworthy by the time he leaves in about two weeks, the board’s president said Thursday.

Elworthy told the school district last Tuesday that he will resign from his Whitewater job, with his last day being Friday, Oct. 25.

He will begin working part time for the St. Francis School District, which is south of Milwaukee, on Tuesday, Oct. 15, and then start full time on Monday, Oct. 28, according to a news release Tuesday from the St. Francis district.

School board President Casey Judd said he was not expecting Elworthy’s resignation.

“It doesn’t matter whenever or however a district administrator departs, it’s a difficult time,” Judd said. “There isn’t a good time.”

Judd also said he never is surprised when people take other jobs. While educators are in the field because they’re passionate about children, he said, “It’s still a career.”

The board hopes to find an interim superintendent in the next two weeks, but Judd said the board also needs to find the right person.

“That may take some time,” he said.

In an interview Thursday, Elworthy said St. Francis reached out to him a couple of weeks ago, and he said it was a “new opportunity.”

“(I) really feel good about the work that’s been completed in Whitewater and its trajectory,” he said.

Elworthy started in Whitewater in summer 2016. Last spring, he was a finalist for superintendent positions in Burlington and Onalaska.

Recently, Elworthy faced criticism after Jim Pease, the former athletic director, said he was forced out over a disagreement with Elworthy about funding repairs to the gymnastics team’s floor. The district denied allegations from Pease and his attorney, according to documents.

Elworthy said Whitewater, as a community, supports education. He said he enjoyed being part of it and celebrating students’ successes.

“The Whitewater Unified School District School Board thanks Dr. Elworthy for his three and a half years of service to our community,” the board said in its statement. “We wish Dr. Elworthy and his family all the best in their future endeavors.”

Elworthy was on a planned vacation in St. Louis last week, but was back at work in Whitewater on Monday.

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