New Albany High School assistant principal Ric Stranges will step into a new role as high school principal.

New Albany High School assistant principal Ric Stranges will step into a new role as high school principal.

The New Albany-Plain Local school board approved Stranges at its monthly business meeting Monday, May 24. He will replace Scott Stewart, who resigned in February after 12 years with the district.

Stranges has been assistant principal for 11 years. He began his career in the Whitehall City School District, teaching in the elementary, middle and high schools and serving as the high school science department chair.

He also coached varsity basketball and baseball and was the local teachers' union president.

"I tried to position myself throughout my career for leadership positions," said Stranges, 51. "I think those were important leadership opportunities and lessons that truly have made me what I am today. Maybe that diversity of opportunities and positions helped me to the principal position, because you kind of have to be all of those people."

Cara Riddle, district human resources director, said Stranges was chosen from a pool of 37 applicants for the position, 27 percent of whom were from out of state.

She said her department conducted a survey of parents, students and teachers about what they would like to see in a new high school principal and then formed two interview committees made up of teachers, administrators and parents to interview candidates.

"We invited eight candidates," Riddle said. "They had two very grueling afternoons and evenings working on interviewing these folks. Those groups quite interestingly made recommendations that the exact three candidates should come to the administrative leadership for a second ground of interviews."

Madeline Partlow, director of teaching and learning, said Stranges stood out from the other candidates.

"We asked all three candidates what would be the next step to take a really good high school to the next level," she said. "Ric had absolutely excellent answers because he has been involved in those discussions in the building. He had a vision for the kind of conversations this high school could have in the future to take those steps from good to great."

Stranges said he is excited to begin his work this summer.

"My job is to ensure that the 21st-century teaching and learning occurs," he said. "I can't wait to do that."

Stranges said he has about 25 ideas up his sleeve for the next school year.

"First, we have to look locally and see where we are in relation to our 20 like districts to make sure we are competing academically with those school districts in the standardized tests," he said. "We also have to make sure we are competing nationally and make sure our Advanced Placement (test) numbers are where they need to be. And then, thirdly, we need to begin looking at best practices from all over the world and incorporate those into what we do on a daily basis in New Albany."

He said he plans to meet each of the high school teachers individually before school starts in the fall to work on these goals, as well as their goals for the school.

Stranges lives on the east side of Columbus with his wife, Sharon, who is a teacher at St. Catharine School, where his sons Brody, 10, and Chad, 8, attend. His oldest son Trey, 15, attends St. Charles Preparatory School.

Though the board has approved Stranges' new position, the terms of his contract have yet to be negotiated. He said that would most likely occur this week.

gmartineau@thisweeknews.com