The 2012-13 school year in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools began Aug. 22, with new Superintendent Francis Scruci visiting every classroom in the district's 11 buildings.

The 2012-13 school year in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools began Aug. 22, with new Superintendent Francis Scruci visiting every classroom in the district's 11 buildings.

"Today is a special day, so I was in all 11 buildings," he said. "I will be in three buildings every day."

Scruci told ThisWeek it's important that students, teachers and staff know he supports them, so he will be present in buildings and school-related events and activities.

"I'll know everyone before next year's out," he said.

Lincoln Elementary School was his last stop on the first day of classes.

Principal Jim Micciulla said his building had a fantastic first day of school, and he was pleased that Scruci had saved "the best for last."

Art teacher Sharon Iseringhausen wasted no time in giving Scruci an assignment to make a model-sized Aluminum Man that's now climbing a rope in the 3-D section of her classroom.

Scruci, an admitted competitor, shaped his art piece to be larger than the existing tin men, and he positioned him higher than the others on the rope.

He also added his own special touch, a cape.

"He's a Superman for the superintendent," Iseringhausen said.

She said the theme at Lincoln this year is "Be a Champion," tying in with the Olympics.

Scruci briefly visited every classroom, introducing himself to students, explaining his job and promising a longer visit next time.

"I'm like the principal of all the schools," he told an elementary class. "I'm in charge of all the buildings and making sure students are safe and learning."

Scruci fist bumped some young students, bringing smiles across their faces. And he shared photos of his dogs with one young student who told him about hers.

"It's nice seeing all the kids and all the teachers," he told ThisWeek. "The kids are smiling. We had a real positive start. Opening day is always stressful, but we had a great first day."

Aug. 22 also marked the return to school for the class of 2016, with more than 500 freshmen entering high school.

The freshmen were greeted by the full staff of the school ,as well as by Scruci.

"The transition to high school is a major event in the life of a young person," principal Dwight Carter said. "For some, the transition to high school is marked by a period of emotional stress and perhaps temporary discomfort that, if not addressed early, can lead to decreased academic performance and difficulties in social adjustment."

He said that's why the high school continues to designate the first day as a freshman-only day.

Lincoln provided a Link Crew, intended to create a pressure-free and friendly environment for freshmen to interact on the first day of school.

Link Crew student leaders were trained in ice-breaking activities that encourage freshmen to open up to one another.

The freshmen were given the opportunity to socialize with their new classmates, locate their classes, select a locker and meet their new teachers to become more comfortable within their new school.