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Gahanna-Jefferson schools

2013 brought shifts in staffing, dedication of one-room schoolhouse

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MARLA K. KUHLMAN/THISWEEKNEWS
Fred Bowers and Jan Elzey spent several hours restoring this one-room schoolhouse, which the district dedicated Oct. 23 at Lincoln Elementary School, 515 Havens Corners Road.
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Residents in the Gahanna-Jefferson Public School District saw many staff changes this year, including the outsourcing of the district's technology department.

The district also celebrated the opening of a renovated one-room schoolhouse, as well as many achievements, such as Lincoln High School principal Dwight Carter being selected as a 2013 Digital Principal award winner. Carter was one of three candidates from a national pool of 70 principals to be named a winner. He received the award during the National Association of Secondary School Principals conference Feb. 28-March 2 in National Harbor, Md.

Gahanna Lincoln was one of 50 high schools chosen from across the country to represent the United States as part of the American High School Theatre Festival. A contingent of about 30 Gahanna Lincoln students and chaperones traveled to Scotland from July 29 to Aug. 12. The students presented four performance of Godspell at the festival that's billed as the largest arts festival in the world.

The following are some of the year's highlights:

Scruci: Outsourcing IT
to save $1M over five years

Superintendent Francis Scruci said cost savings and increased efficiencies led to outsourcing technology beginning July 1.

During an April 30 special meeting, the school board approved abolishing seven full-time positions and suspending contracts of those employees effective July 31.

Scruci told ThisWeek the change had the potential to save about $1 million over the next five years.

The board approved a five-year contract to outsource technology with Epiphany Management Group of Akron.

 

Principal changes announced

In mid-May, the district hired Robin Murdock and Colon Lewis to lead Middle School South and Middle School West, respectively.

Murdock was beginning her 12th year in the district. She has led the G-J district-sponsored charter school since 2006, and she has served as an assistant principal simultaneously.

Lewis, a Blacklick resident, had worked as South High School principal in the Columbus City Schools since July 2012.

Middle School South principal Kristen Groves changed positions to become principal of Blacklick Elementary School. She replaced Robin Schmidt, who retired.

 

Langhals retire

The end of the school year also brought the retirements of Hank and Beth Langhals, who had a combined 62 years of experience in the G-J schools.

Beth Langhals had been a High Point Elementary School third-grade teacher for 25 years.

Hank Langhals had worked in various positions for the Gahanna schools over the past 36 years, most recently as coordinator for pupil services and curriculum.

 

District dedicates one-room schoolhouse

The district dedicated a one-room schoolhouse Oct. 23 at Lincoln Elementary School, 515 Havens Corners Road.

Gahanna students soon will have an opportunity to experience life as a student in the 1800s, thanks to the renovation. Tom Gregory, a Lincoln High School speech and television-production teacher, led the effort to move and restore the schoolhouse.

"It is so important that students understand our local history and how it has impacted this community," Gregory said. "When you can reach out, touch, see and experience history, it will have much more meaning. The hope is that students will come to the schoolhouse one class at a time to experience what it was like to go to school in the 1800s."

The old schoolhouse, also known as Jefferson Township No. 2 School, was in front of the YMCA on U.S. Route 62 and had been converted into a garage.

 

Board OKs labor deal,
including recognition pay

In October, the school board approved a three-year labor contract with its teachers.

The new contract, which the board approved unanimously, provided a 1.5-percent increase in base salary this year, a 1-percent increase next year and no increase on the base salary for the third year.

The teachers voted 305-5 to ratify the contract.

Teachers union spokesperson Jenny Palguta said the contract incorporates new teacher evaluations, as required this year under state law.

"It's not only a lot of work for administrators but all of us," she said. "It's a big chunk of our new contract, and we made it a positive part of (the agreement.)"

Because the district earned an A on the indicators met on the 2012-13 school year, the teachers who worked last year received $400 in bonus pay. If they reach that same goal during the next two years, teachers will receive a $200 stipend each year.

Scruci and Palguta summarized the agreement as a fair deal.

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