Ric Stranges has high expectations for Delaware Hayes High School.

Ric Stranges has high expectations for Delaware Hayes High School.

The school's new principal settled into his office Aug. 1 after a rigorous eight-hour interview process with the district over the summer.

He was interviewed by the board, faculty, students and community members.

Stranges has been principal at New Albany High School for the past three years, and previously was the assistant principal there for 10 years.

Prior to interviewing for the Hayes principal position, Stranges attended the Delaware Hayes Hall of Fame ceremony last school year and said he was impressed with the community.

"Two thoughts went through my head after that event: One was that I can't wait to implement this in New Albany, and two, I can't believe the kind of community this is," he said.

He said he spent time walking up and down Sandusky Street to get a feel for the kind of community Delaware is before officially accepting the principal position.

"I wanted to be a good fit for the district, but also for the district to be a good fit for me and my family," he said, "and the support and pride I saw convinced me that this is the place I want to be and the place I want to start Phase Three of my career."

Before the school year began, he informally introduced himself to students during football practices and met with journalism students.

Stranges said he believes the district is heading in the right direction and add-ed he will spend some time acquainting himself with the ins and outs of the school.

"My task will be to observe for a while," he said. "I will be doing a lot more listening than speaking. After that, I will be able to assess areas we can begin to improve."

He said he wants to bring national and international recognition to the school for its various achievements, which he said he has done in New Albany schools.

Stranges said he wants to continue to support innovation and creativity, following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Brad Faust.

"Brad has set the tone for the school as a place of change and evolution," he said. "I will continue to be asking how we can serve our students best. Is the way we're doing this the best way? Or do we need to rethink things?"

For example, Stranges said the library has begun to incorporate softer chairs, more electronics and better ways for students to conduct research.

"We want to create opportunities for students that match the way that they are growing and evolving," he said.

Stranges said he looks forward to being a part of the building renovations and changes coming up in the district as a result of the bond issue being approved in May.

"I am excited to be a part of a district that passed their bond issue and has that kind of support," he said. "It sent a strong message: This is a strong community that wants strong schools."

Stranges said he hopes to enhance the school's culture and continue to provide what students need to succeed in their careers after high school.

Stranges signed a three-year contract with the district and will earn $118,015 annually.