Pacheco High principal taking leave after cancer diagnosis

By Corey Pride / Cpride@losbanosenterprise.comJanuary 17, 2013 

Pacheco High Principal Brett Lee is preparing to take time from work to battle a deadly disease.

Lee, 45, said he has been diagnosed with cancer and will start medical leave as soon as Monday. Lee would not say what type of cancer he has or how long he's known about his condition. He said he prefers not to reveal too much information publicly.

"I'd rather leave it at I got some things to work through, I got some battles ahead," Lee said. "I plan on getting better and coming back."

Assistant Principal Grace Taylor will serve as interim principal in Lee's absence.

Superintendent Steve Tietjen said he believes the school, which opened in 2010, will continue to strive to meet academic goals while waiting for its Lee to return.

"We have every confidence in the staff at Pacheco High," he said.

Tietjen said he wishes Lee well.

"We're looking forward to his recovery and his return," he said.

In response to Lee's announcement, staff wore T-shirts bearing "BrettStrong," modeled after the National Football League's Indianapolis Colts' "ChuckStrong" slogan for coach Chuck Pagano's fight against leukemia this football season.

The T-shirt idea has reached Los Banos High School as well. Some teachers there received emails Wednesday asking if they wanted to order shirts.

Lee is the only principal Pacheco High has known in its two-year existence. Lee was named Pacheco High's principal in 2009 and assisted in the process of choosing the school's colors and mascot. Lee also spent four years as an assistant/vice principal at Los Banos High.

Lee is a native of Denver, and attended Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.

Lee is turning to his faith for strength, and is grateful to well-wishers showing concern for his condition.

"I appreciate your thoughts and prayers on me and my family's behalf," Lee said.

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