LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The former principal of the Academy @ Shawnee who resigned suddenly in June after taking a leave of absence from Jefferson County Public Schools has been named the superintendent of Frankfort Independent Schools.

According to The State Journal newspaper, Houston Barber was offered the job Wednesday. He will make $105,000 annually over the next four years. His first day with the district is Thursday.

“It’s a little bit emotional because this is where I grew up,” Barber said immediately after accepting the position, according to the newspaper. “I’m glad to be able to come back to a place that I love and raise my kids here. Also I’m very passionate about getting schools the best education I can.”

The Frankfort Independent School board had initially closed the application process for superintendent, but then reopened it so Barber could apply.

Barber resigned from JCPS two weeks after he took a leave of absence from Shawnee, citing personal reasons. He had been principal at Shawnee since January 2014, when Superintendent Donna Hargens named him the school's new principal.

When asked why he didn't apply for the Frankfort job during the initial application process, Barber told WDRB News he had to "explore options with my family."

"Really took a step back to reflect and think about work-life balance," he said. "(Frankfort) is my hometown and I have always wanted to return to my hometown."

Barber's leave of absence from Shawnee began May 26 and he was not present for the school's graduation, which upset some students and parents. The school's three assistant principals -- Amber Jaggers, Tyler Shearon and Jaronda Majors -- have led the school while JCPS searches for his replacement.

A district official told WDRB News Monday that Hargens hopes to name a new principal at Shawnee before the first day of school on Aug. 12. 

Barber's annual salary in JCPS was $132,955.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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