The head of the new state initiative aimed at helping school combat bullying has resigned after less than three months on the job.

Bill Mack, a retired Rosemount-Apple Valley Eagan administrator, recently resigned as the director of the School Safety and Technical Assistance Center, citing personal reasons. Mack lived in Grand Rapids and was commuting to the Twin Cities for work, returning to northern Minnesota on the weekends.

In a letter written to members of the School Safety Technical Assistance Council, Mack said he was leaving the Minnesota Department of Education on good terms.

"My reasons were purely personal and related more to the scope of the job than anything else," he wrote. Everyone at MDE has been very good to me and very supportive. You are a multi-talented group and I know you will do great things to help Minnesota schools put a dent in bullying. My best to each of you."

Craig Wethington, deputy director of the department's division of safety, health and nutrition, has been named the Center's interim director.

"We are just so thrilled to have Craig so we won't miss a beat," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

The Center was established under the state's new anti-bullying law. Its mission is to assist schools combat bullying. Its work is overseen by the 23-member Council.

On Tuesday, Wethington told Council members he was beginning to immerse himself in the new role. Among other things, he mentioned conversations he'd recently had with representatives from the National School Climate Center and Minnesota Youth Council.

Craig Wethington