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Kathleen Bears will step down from the principal's position at Garces Memorial High School at the end of this school year.

Garces Memorial High School is looking for a new principal.

The Diocese of Fresno announced Monday that Kathleen Bears, principal for the past five years, would “step down” from her position leading the city’s largest Catholic school at the end of the school year.

Prior to going into administration, Bears had been a science teacher. She will remain at the school as a teacher, according to the school.

The search for a new principal was announced in a news release that Richard Sexton, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, issued late Monday afternoon.

Sexton could not be reached for comment, but in a written statement said, “I cannot adequately express in words my appreciation for (Bears’) dedication and unselfish commitment to Garces and its faculty, staff and students.

“I believed that Mrs. Kathleen Bears found the principal’s position to be both a tremendous challenge with the amount and complexity of the work to be done, and at the same time, an interesting calling to serve such outstanding students.”

Bears did not return calls seeking comment. Neither did the school’s director of communications Lou Ann Durrett, or the rector, the Rev. Monsignor Perry Kavookjian.

Kavookjian serves as a liaison between Garces and Bishop Armando Xavier Ochoa at the Diocese of Fresno.

Garces President John Fanucchi declined comment, referring questions to the diocese.

Bears is the latest in a series of Garces employees with high profile posts to depart in the past few years.

Garces fired head football coach Jim Maples in January, ending a two-year tenure that included on-field success and off-field controversy.

He was placed on eight days of administrative leave over the summer during an investigation into possible recruiting violations.

In December, Maples and seven other Garces football coaches filed a claim against the Kern High School District, the Kern County Superintendent of Schools and the CIF Central Section, alleging those entities used and spread information from a private conversation that was illegally recorded.

Also in January, Garces fired longtime swimming coach Bill Potter. Potter said the termination was without cause. The official stated reason was “violating Catholic code.”

In 2009, many alumni and supporters were upset over the resignation of football coach David Fanucchi — some claim he was forced out — and the demotion of his older brother, Vince Fanucchi, from the position of boys athletic director.

Both men are brothers of Garces’ president, John Fanucchi.