PAXTON — For 12 years as a principal in the Paxton-Buckley-Loda school district, Trent Eshleman has tried to teach his students, as he says, to "follow some dreams, take some risks and don't live in fear."
Eshleman will soon put those lessons to practice.
After four years as PBL High School's principal, which followed eight years as the principal at Clara Peterson Elementary School, Eshleman's letter of resignation was accepted by the school board Wednesday.
Eshleman is vacating his position to pursue ownership and operations of a business in the private sector. Eshleman said he could not mention any details about the business at this time.
"After 20 years in education, I get to practice what I've preached to students, student-athletes and teachers," Eshleman said. "It's bittersweet. It's a great opportunity. The day-in and day-out relationships — I won't be able to exercise those, but I still have these friends and I've been honored to be able to serve the district for 12 years."
The resignation will take effect Dec. 31.
"I'm going to work through the rest of the semester," Eshleman said. "Whatever transition help the community, the board or the administration wants from me, I'm here to help in that transition. I still advocate for and support this district. It's my life here. I've been given an opportunity I need to go after, and I'm going to do that."
Although Eshleman will no longer be PBL High School's principal in 2014, he said the community should not expect him to leave the school and never look back.
He said in his resignation letter that he has "every intention to continue to support and advocate for the stakeholders of the PBL school district as a parent, community member and business owner, and we collectively uphold our vision for 'Excellence through Rigor, Relevance and Relationships.'"
"I'm still a parent and community member. I'm going to continue to be in these buildings at events, at ballgames, both following my sons and following the people I've worked with," Eshleman said. "We have so many great things going. When there are things going on in this school, I fully intend to be supporting those concerts and activities. If there are committees they need community members on, and certainly the athletic programs — this is my home, so I'm not leaving. It's still my home. I'm just not going to be working in the schools after the first of the year."