A Gahanna veteran educator and Columbus City Schools high school principal have been chosen to lead Middle School South and Middle School West, respectively.
The Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education approved two-year contracts for Robin Murdock, principal of Gahanna Community School, and Colon Lewis, principal of South High School, effective Aug. 1 through July 31, 2015.
Murdock will be paid an annual salary of $106,638 plus $29,500 in benefits for a total package of $136,138. Lewis will receive an annual salary of $109,217 plus $29,899 in benefits for a total of $139,116.
Murdock is beginning her 12th year in the G-J district. She has led the district-sponsored charter school since 2006, and she simultaneously served as an assistant principal. The board accepted her resignation as assistant principal of MSS effective July 31.
She told ThisWeek she moved to Gahanna, wanting her own child to attend the local schools.
"I buy into (the idea that) all students come first," she said. "I love what I do at the high school, but I'm ready for the next stop at the middle school. I love Gahanna schools."
She said her objective is to use her strengths in student achievement and staff development at MSS.
Lewis, a Blacklick resident, said he's excited about being MSW principal.
"It's an incredible opportunity, and I'm looking forward to it," he said. "My wife teaches at Blacklick, and my kids attend Blacklick. We'll have the full-family experience here at Gahanna-Jefferson."
Lewis has worked as South High School principal since July 2012. He served as principal at Southmoor Middle School from July 2010 to June 2012 and principal at Indianola Math, Science and Technology Middle School from July 2008 to July 2010.
Superintendent Francis Scruci said he's excited about working with the two candidates. He said the leaders were chosen from 104 applicants, with eight chosen for initial interviews, followed by a final four who were interviewed by the entire middle school staffs.
"The final four candidates were all Gahanna residents," Scruci said. "That's something I'm happy about. They're invested in the community. That bodes well when we start talking at levy time. I'm excited about the level of talent they bring."
He said Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter is one of the best he has worked with, and Carter helped mentor Murdock.
"Colon brings a lot of experience," Scruci said. "He moved buildings from poor-achieving to high-achieving buildings. He has done some great things. He's very data-driven."
Current MSS principal Kristen Groves is changing positions to become principal of Blacklick Elementary School. She replaces Robin Schmidt, who's retiring.
MSW principal Brett Harmon has accepted an administrative post with the South Western City Schools.