The Pickerington Board of Education on March 28 hired Rob Walker to lead the district as superintendent.

The Pickerington Board of Education on March 28 hired Rob Walker to lead the district as superintendent.

Walker is the Lancaster City Schools superintendent. He will remain with that district until the end of this school year and begin work in Pickerington on Aug. 1.

During a special meeting March 28, the board unanimously agreed to give Walker a three-year contract. He will be paid a $135,000 annual salary.

Walker did not apply for the district's superintendent post prior to its deadline last November. He was not one of the four named finalists for the position and didn't become a "formal" candidate until March 14, according to school board president Lori Sanders.

"Though Mr. Walker did not originally submit an application during the initial search process, he was asked and graciously accepted the board's request to meet informally to gauge mutual interest," Sanders read from a prepared statement at the meeting. "The board was aware of Mr. Walker's accomplishments at Lancaster and his reputation as a proven leader, with over 30 years of public school experience."

The district will reimburse Walker up to $8,500 to relocate from Lancaster to Pickerington. Sanders said he would receive the same benefits compensation as former superintendent Karen Mantia, who left in August to become superintendent of Lakota Local Schools.

"What an honor and a privilege it is to assume this role," Walker said. "I'm very excited about this opportunity."

Benefit compensation information was not immediately available.

Mantia was the district's superintendent from March 2007 to August 2011. She was paid a $144,000 annual salary and an additional $63,492 in benefits, according to the district treasurer's office. That included a $6,000 annual auto allowance.

Sanders said Jim Sotlar, who was identified by the board as a superintendent finalist, would continue to serve as interim superintendent for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year. After that, he will resume working as the district's assistant superintendent, a position for which he was given a two-year contract extension March 26.