Hilliard Bradley High School Principal David Stewart, who is leaving the district to become assistant superintendent of South-Western City Schools, called the opportunity to open the doors of Bradley in 2009 "a life-changing experience."
"It was genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a life-changing experience," Stewart said of the opportunity to choose mascots, fight songs, letter jackets and watch the building come to life as furniture was delivered and students filled the halls.
Bradley's class of 2013 is the first graduating class to spend all four years at the school.
"I'll always cherish the experience (of opening Bradley) and hold it near and dear to my heart," Stewart said. "I can't say enough what an amazing experience it was."
After spending nine years at Dublin schools, Stewart came to Hilliard and was principal for four years at Darby High School.
In 2008, he was named principal at Bradley High School and spent one year preparing for its opening in August 2009.
"I can't say enough about this district and this community," Stewart said. "I've had such a warm feeling here, the support of the community and the performance of the educators are second to none and is reflected in how our district achieves."
Stewart said he is s looking forward to "new challenges and responsibilities" in South-Western City Schools, the sixth-largest district in Ohio with almost 20,000 students.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to help South-Western keep achieving," he said.
Stewart, 40, and his wife, Wendi, have three sons and reside in Powell.
Stewart was one of three finalists to succeed the retiring Dale McVey as superintendent of Hilliard City Schools.
The others were Steven Estepp, Hilliard's director of curriculum and instruction, and John Marschhausen, Loveland City Schools superintendent. The school board chose Marschhausen, citing his prior experience as a superintendent as the determining factor.
Estepp recently was hired superintendent of Mariemont City Schools near Cincinnati.
Marschhausen said he would recommend to the school board that Bradley Assistant Principal Mindy Mordarski be named the new principal.