Hogsett’s principal is retiring. His replacement could be chosen next week.

Hogsett Primary Principal Leo Labrillazo is retiring at the end of this school year, after 29 years in education.

“As I look back on my career in education, that’s one of the things that kind of still is astounding is how quickly it’s gone by,” Labrillazo said during an interview in his office Thursday morning. “I don’t feel like it’s been 29 years. Even my time here in Danville Schools doesn’t feel like five years.”

File photo by Kendra Peek
While wearing a Dr. Seuss hat, Hogsett Principal Leo Labrillazo hands an award to second-grader Denaysia Davis during a schoolwide gathering in March 2016.

The Hogsett school council is conducting interviews for three principal applicants Friday evening and the next principal could be chosen as soon as next week, Superintendent Tammy McDonald said.

Labrillazo became principal of Hogsett shortly before the 2014-15 school year began. “I think I’m a perfect fit to step in and continue the great things that are currently going on in Hogsett,” he said at the time.

In 2018, Labrillazo represented Kentucky in Washington, D.C., as a national distinguished principal, a distinction earned by principals who run schools that are meeting students’ needs and maintaining strong connections with the community.

Prior to Hogsett, Labrillazo worked in the Jessamine County School District for 17 years. He said during his five years in Danville, one of his proudest accomplishments is helping the district transition from three elementary schools to one primary school for all students from preschool through first grade and one intermediate school for second through fifth grades.

“One of the great things about the formation of a primary school is that we are really gearing all of our resources to meet the needs of this unique age of students. I hope that continues to be what guides all of the choices for Hogsett Primary,” he said. “It’s just such an important time in a student’s educational career, and also for families. This could be their child’s first exposure to school and I can’t think of a better placement than Danville Schools for their children.”

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Hogsett Principal Leo Labrillazo, right, gets a hug from Hayvn Peel while he talks with Bradley Barker, left, during a visit to a first-grade classroom Thursday morning.

Being a part of the transition to primary and intermediate schools also makes his leaving bittersweet, he said. “I feel like I’m leaving now that the groundwork has been set and we’re getting ready to move into a beautiful, renovated facility.”

But Labrillazo said now is definitely the right time for him to retire. “I can’t describe the feeling; it just feels right,” he said.

He plans to take the next year to handle some family matters “and then see what happens after that.”

“I am looking forward to drinking coffee and reading the paper in the mornings,” said Labrillazo, who lives in Jessamine County and has been commuting to school in the early mornings, often before the sun is up. “That is kind of a simple guilty pleasure I’m looking forward to. When your day starts at 7 a.m., there’s no way around that.”

McDonald said it’s “a loss for the district,” but “we’re appreciative of his service to our students and our school system.”

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Hogsett Primary Principal Leo Labrillazo looks at a tablet computer with first-graders, from left, Tyler Woods Warner, Bentlee Orwig and Bradley Barker during class Thursday.

“He has been a strong educator and has given so much to the community,” she said. “… He is absolutely leaving on a positive with the district.”

Labrillazo said he has developed many friendships inside Danville Schools and plans to stay in contact.

“What stands out to me is the community here in Danville, how welcoming they were to me, how easy it was to get to work, to continue the hard work of ensuring Danville Schools was providing top-notch education for all the families,” he said. “… This has definitely not been just a blip on my career; it’s been something that I will keep with me forever.”

The Hogsett Primary School Site-Based Decision-Making Council is scheduled to meet at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the school in order to review and discuss principal applicants and interview candidates. The discussion and interviews will take place in closed session; the council will then adjourn without taking further action, according to the meeting agenda.