Four candidates still are in the running for middle school principal posts within the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, including two current Gahanna leaders.

Four candidates still are in the running for middle school principal posts within the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools, including two current Gahanna leaders.

The finalists are Edmund Baker Jr., principal of Champion Middle School, Columbus City Schools; Colon Tremaine Lewis, principal of South High School, Columbus City Schools; Robin Murdock, principal of Gahanna Community School, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools; and Aaron Winner, assistant principal of Middle School South, Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

Superintendent Francis Scruci said the district is looking for the right candidate for each school.

Eight middle school principal candidates initially were narrowed from a field of 104 applicants who applied for both open positions at Middle School West and Middle School South.

Baker has 16 years of experience as an administrator and teacher in middle school education. He has served as principal at Champion since 2010 and previously was principal at Beery Middle School from 2006 to 2010.

Baker guided and directed all aspects of administration, fiscal management and instruction at a middle school with nearly 300 students, according to his resume. His responsibilities have included strategic planning, capital/budget development and administration, staffing and public relations.

Lewis has served as principal of South High School since July 2012. His previous work experience includes Southmoor Middle School principal, 2010-12; Indianola Math, Science and Technology Middle School principal, 2008-10; and principal of Mifflin Alternative Middle School, 2004-08.

The top of his resume provides his personal vision "to have the greatest impact possible on the growth and development of others by adding value and influence to extraordinary organizations."

Murdock has led the G-J district-sponsored charter school since 2006 and simultaneously served as an assistant principal for Gahanna Lincoln High School. Prior to joining the district, she worked in guidance counseling at Jonathan Alder High School from 2000 to 2002 and as a guidance intern at Westland High School from 1996 to 2000.

She said her objective is to have the privilege and opportunity to become the head principal of a Gahanna middle school to utilize her strengths in student achievement and staff development.

Winner has served as assistant principal and athletics director at Gahanna Middle School South since 2009. He was summer school principal at Gahanna Middle School West in 2008 and 2009, and he taught eighth-grade math at MSW from 2004 to 2009.

As an educational leader, Winner said, his vision is to establish an educational environment that inspires excellence.

"My mission is to create a school climate of respect and cooperation where students, staff, families and community members are empowered to work together to continuously improve the academic achievement of all students by focusing on data-driven student needs," he wrote in his resume.

Scruci said the entire staff at both middle schools was scheduled to interview all four finalists for an hour each April 29.

While one candidate interviewed at one school, another would be at the other and then rotate, he said.

Following the interviews with the middle schools, Scruci said, feedback would be gathered from the middle school staffs, and all four candidates would return to meet with a small interview team.

He said he anticipates announcing new middle school principals during the May 9 school board meeting.

The board accepted the resignation of MSW principal Brett Harmon on April 10. He has accepted an administrative post with the South-Western City Schools.

MSS principal Kristen Groves is changing positions to become principal of Blacklick Elementary School. Robin Schmidt, who has been Blacklick principal since 2001, is retiring.