READ MORE- South Hadley High School tries to learn from Phoebe Prince's case

The principal of South Hadley High School in Massachusetts announced that he intends to retire.

Daniel Smith has been the serving principal at the high school for over a decade and has worked in the district for 33 years.

During his tenure Phoebe Prince, an Irish teenager and student in South Hadley High School, committed suicide in her home on January 14 of last year.  Six of her fellow classmates are facing criminal charges stemming from the alleged bullying of the Irish girl.

In a statement he quashed rumors that his retirement was connected to the death of Prince.

“I understand there is some speculation as to whether my retirement is at all related to the Prince tragedy,’’ Smith said. “I can unequivocally state that my retirement decision is not related in any way.’’

Smith, who plans to step down in June, said he based his decision on his eligibility to retire and that the new incoming principal will begin his or her tenure as the school embarks on a two-year “NEASC self-study,” to assess its strengths and weaknesses. NEASC stands for the New England Association on Schools and Colleges.

“Having a new principal work with the school and community of the outset of that process will be most beneficial to the new leader,” Smith wrote.

Gus Sayer, the school superintendent, praised Smith in an email.

“Dan has been an outstanding principal for South Hadley High School, who is widely respected for his leadership skills and his caring for the young people in our town,’’ Sayer said. 

READ MORE- South Hadley High School tries to learn from Phoebe Prince's case