Dwight Carter's first impressions of New Albany are that it is a "wonderful place with an excellent staff, wonderful kids and a supportive community."
Carter was hired as principal of New Albany High School in February and started his new job June 1. He previously was Gahanna Lincoln High School's principal.
One of his first challenges, he said, is to meet the students and teachers. He said he plans to visit classrooms and talk to students to "learn about the New Albany way."
"I'm not in a hurry to force any initiatives. It's not my way," Carter said. "I want to learn about the successes of New Albany and the history of New Albany, learn what's already been accomplished."
Two of his goals for the year are to implement a new teacher-evaluation system and to make sure students are learning according to the Common Core State Standards.
The new teacher-evaluation system ties a portion of the teacher's evaluation to students' success on state tests and requires all teachers to be evaluated annually. The evaluations will include a classroom visit, and district officials have said it will require more time of building administrators.
The Common Core State Standards have proved controversial in Ohio, most recently with House Bill 597, jointly sponsored by Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Andy Thompson (R-Marietta).
The bill, which was introduced July 30 to the Ohio House of Representatives, would repeal and replace the Common Core State Standards, creating "a pathway for a state-led comprehensive set of standards and assessments, while ensuring confidentiality of student data," according to Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) of New Albany's 19th Ohio House District, whose office sent out a release about the bill.
Carter said he also plans to work with other leaders to make the district's vision "to become the leader in reinventing education" a reality.
Carter has a bachelor's degree in comprehensive social studies from Wittenberg University and a master's degree in education administration from Ashland University.
He has worked in education for 20 years, also serving as an assistant high school principal, middle school principal and teacher.
He was welcomed to the community in a private event July 30 at the home of Chris and Jennifer Lopez. They are the parents of one New Albany High School graduate, Alison, and an incoming freshman, Abbey.
"We wanted to welcome Mr. Carter to the parent community of the high school and help him put some faces with names even before the year begins," Jennifer Lopez said.
She said friends in Gahanna "can't speak highly enough of him" and she and her husband wanted others to meet Carter.
Erika Nelson, a mother of five children ranging in age from 3 months to 15 years old, called the event "a good thing," saying she wanted to meet Carter since her first child is entering high school as a freshman.