After 11 years with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District, Superintendent Mark White announced Jan. 24 that he would resign effective July 31 to pursue new career opportunities.

After 11 years with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District, Superintendent Mark White announced Jan. 24 that he would resign effective July 31 to pursue new career opportunities.

White met with central-office staff and building administrators Tuesday morning (Jan. 24) to tell them about his decision, noting that he looks forward to other professional challenges and wants to spend more time with his family in Texas.

He told ThisWeek it's odd for a superintendent to step away from a district as fine as Gahanna-Jefferson."I've never been one to always do what others do," he said. "What I'm doing is stepping in another direction. I don't know what I want to do. I would like to pursue new challenges. I've been here 11 wonderful years, and there comes a time in every career where you need new horizons."

White said the timing is good because the district isn't negotiating a teachers contract and has no proposed ballot issue."I'm announcing now so the board has time to find a new superintendent," he said. "I expect us to attract quality candidates from our reputation. This has been a tough decision."

White said he would consider all kinds of professional options in the future. "I want to take some time off to decide what I want to do with my career," he said. "I love Ohio. I love the people of Ohio. I'm open to all situations right now. I plan to stay here, but we'll see what happens."

White has spent 29 years in education, including 16 as an administrator.He's in the second year of a three-year contract, with an annual salary of $149,450 plus benefits.

White began serving the Gahanna community in 2001 as principal of Gahanna Lincoln High School. In 2008, he was selected to serve as the district's assistant superintendent. He became superintendent two years later, succeeding Gregg Morris, who retired.

Under White's leadership, the district improved on the state's report card from excellent to excellent with distinction, and he was involved in the collaboration to develop Clark Hall. He also guided the district through more than $12 million in necessary budget reductions and the subsequent passage of a May 2011 operating levy.

During White's tenure as principal, he oversaw an increase in the graduation rate, from 89.2 percent in 2002 to 95 percent in 2011; the formation of the Alumni Hall of Fame and the Student Hall of Fame; and the increase in the number of AP courses.

For the next six months, White said, he will continue focusing on several initiatives to highlight student achievement.

Those projects include a showcase for the arts in the schools, including an online multimedia gallery; increasing student physical fitness; and implementing technology infrastructure upgrades in all schools.

Prior to working in Gahanna, White had experience as an education consultant and presenter with various national and regional organizations, including the College Board, the American College Testing Corp. and the Association of Secondary School Administrators. White also has held various teaching and administrative positions with Westerville South High School (1998-2000) and Hamilton Township High School (2000-2001).