Gahanna Lincoln High School students who served on a committee to interview high school principal finalists have high hopes for Bobby Dodd, current New Lexington High School principal.
The Gahanna-Jefferson school board on April 15 approved a two-year contact to hire Dodd at an annual base salary of $121,221 plus benefits valued at $32,581, for an annual compensation package of $153,802. The contract is effective Aug. 1, 2014, through July 31, 2016.
Junior Jenisys Battle helped represent the 2,500-student high school body during the interview process for the new principal.
"The characteristics I looked for is what I look for in anyone I meet," he said. "I look for someone I can interact with. I felt that the moment he stepped in the room. He was the only one of three (finalists) who shook our hands. He was there for us, not just a better payroll."
Battle said the diversity of Gahanna is important.
"To (want to) make it more into one was nice to hear," he said. "He was also very honest. We asked how he would make it closer. He said no one specific answer, but he said he would be there as an adult you could go to -- a friend. He said progress would be forward, not backward."
Freshman Alexis Young said she wanted a principal to whom students could relate.
"I was looking for someone who would be there for us," she said. "I wanted someone who would be at productions, a disciplinarian but also someone who knows how to have fun."
She said she was impressed that Dodd wants to be an integral part of the school.
"He wanted to make our school a family," Young said. "I like how he said he would support us by coming to sporting events and productions. He seemed like a cool guy."
New Lexington Superintendent Tonya Foster Sherburne, a 1990 Gahanna Lincoln graduate, said Dodd would be a principal who works to create teacher and student leadership within the school and community.
"Mr. Dodd will encourage and support teachers as they implement innovative learning opportunities for students," she said. "He will communicate with students, parents and community using multiple types of media. I am thrilled for Gahanna Lincoln High School but sad to lose his leadership at our high school. As a proud Gahanna alumni, it is indeed bittersweet for me."
Gahanna-Jefferson Superintendent Francis Scruci thanked staff members, the community, parents and students for serving on the search committee.
He said Dodd has a high energy level matched by very few.
"He talked to students and staff about being lifelong learners," Scruci said.
He said Dodd plans to move to Gahanna with his wife and family, and he will be highly visible.
Dodd thanked the board for the opportunity.
During the interview process, Dodd said, people asked why he chose Gahanna?
He joked that it was a no-brainer because he looked at Gahanna's website and saw a smiling Scruci with the same hair style. They're both bald.
"I knew this was the right place for me," Dodd said. "I'm thankful we're here, and we'll do great things here in Gahanna."
He said Gahanna has an exceptional thing going.
"We'll work as a team and be collaborative," he said. "We'll do things outside the box, and we will also do inside things -- traditions. A lot of places don't have what you have. We'll cherish those traditions."
Dodd said he and his family are excited about moving to Gahanna.
"I know the kids here are great," he said.
School board president Jill Schuler congratulated Dodd and welcomed him to Gahanna.