CLINE: Kruskamp takes short retirement

Bill Kruskamp is enjoying his new pursuit. But the former Gwinnett principal admits that some days he wonders what he was thinking when he decided to come out of retirement and serve as interim principal at Alcovy High School in Newton County.

Those thoughts generally come before sunrise and the hour commute he makes to Covington from his home in Snellville.

“When the alarm clock rings at 5 in the morning I wonder, ‘Are you crazy,’” Kruskamp said with a laugh. “And I’ve got some Gwinnett friends who tell me: ‘You’re not as smart as we thought you were.’ But it’s a different challenge. It really kind of came at me sideways. It wasn’t something I was looking for.”

After retiring from Creekland Middle, a school he ran since 2006, Kruskamp intended to relax, play some golf and continue as an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia. Then came a summer conference which led to him being asked to fill in at Alcovy while principal LaQuanda Carpenter is on maternity leave. Just like that, he went from sleeping in and playing golf to rising early and running a school again.

We’ve all had substitute teachers, but being a substitute principal is new ground for Kruskamp as well as the Alcovy students. Entering his second week of school, Kruskamp is having fun with the change. Things are different ­— down to the hourly time sheet he signs — but Kruskamp is enjoying the return to high school.

“I thought it would be fun to come back to high school and experience a little Friday night lights,” said Kruskamp, who spent 20 years at Shiloh High, including three years as principal. “Here at Alcovy they aren’t expecting me to recreate the system. My job is to help keep them between the white lines.”

With Carpenter slated to return at the end of November, Kruskamp has a few months to help and guide the students and faculty at Alcovy. It’s a challenge he’s looking forward to even if it does infringe on his golf game.

“I really thought I was done,” he said of retiring from Creekland. “I was playing more golf in those six or seven weeks (than I ever had) and I thought: ‘This is the life.’

“But you know what’s fun — coming to a new place and getting to meet and work with new people. I got some great training where I was (in Gwinnett) and I get to bring that here. But my main job is to help them keep it between the navigational buoys.”

Todd Cline can be reached via email at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com.