Principal John Werner, shown at Osbourn High School in 2011, will be leaving the school to take a job in Albemarle County. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Osbourn High School’s principal, who has served two years at the Manassas City school, has resigned to take a job in Virginia’s Albemarle County, city officials said Monday.

The resignation of John Werner, a veteran educator who also has worked in Fairfax and Clarke counties, took officials and residents by surprise, School Board Chairman Scott M. Albrecht said. Werner is expected to finish out the school year in Manassas.

“The whole community is kind of shocked,” Albrecht said. “But he’s looking to move, he’s looking to do something different, and it’s what happens.”

Werner is known in Manassas as an outgoing, warm presence. He attended community events and has a good rapport with students, officials said. Werner could not be reached for comment Monday.

Albrecht said that he understands the move because Albemarle is an affluent community near the University of Virginia that offers “more exposure” for the principal. The county seat is in Charlottesville.

In an interview last year, Werner said he wanted to move quickly to change certain aspects of Osbourn, an approximately 2,000-student school that has drawn scrutiny in recent years for low test scores. He made changes both cosmetic and academic: He covered dirt paths on the school’s grounds with grass and established a “rescue” team to ensure that students who need prodding receive it.

Albrecht said that officials hope to have a new principal in place by the beginning of the next school year. Manassas Superintendent Catherine Magouyrk said that she supports Werner and hopes to find a new principal who “will play an important part in the school and community.”