Columbine High School principal retiring

Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis in 2009, 10 years after the school massacre that left 12 students and one adult dead.

Columbine High School Principal Frank DeAngelis says he is privileged to have led the school through "the best and worst of times," including the 1999 massacre.

Frank DeAngelis, the longtime Columbine High principal who saw the school through the 1999 massacre that left 12 students and one teacher dead, is retiring after 18 years at the helm.

DeAngelis plans to retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year, Jeffco Public Schools announced.

DeAngelis has been at Columbine since 1979. He began his career as a social studies teacher before becoming principal in 1996.

"The Columbine School Community is truly special and I have been blessed to have spent the past 34 years at CHS," DeAngelis said in a letter to parents, 7NEWS reported.

"It has been my privilege to lead this wonderful school through the best and worst of times. The support of our families and the Columbine community has meant the world to me; I have been profoundly honored and humbled to be a part of the Columbine family."

Related: Back to school means security cameras, armed guards

DeAngelis led the school through the April 20, 1999, tragedy at Columbine, when two heavily armed seniors, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, walked into school and opened fire. The pair committed suicide after the massacre.

After the tragedy, DeAngelis promised the then-ninth grade class that he would not leave until they graduated. In 2012, students who were in kindergarten at the time of the shooting graduated, according to 7NEWS.

"DeAngelis has continued to inspire his colleagues and fellow educators with his unwavering belief that every student matters," Jeffco Superintendent Cindy Stevenson told the TV station.

In April, the Colorado Association of School Executives honored DeAngelis as the state's 2013 high school "principal of the year."

"In the years since the tragedy at Columbine, DeAngelis has quietly offered to help other communities that have experienced similar horrific events. He supports them in the recovery process with the wisdom he gained through his own healing," the association said.

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