A recommendation from school board President Cheryl Max put Sonia Postema on track to become the district's first human resources director.

A recommendation from school board President Cheryl Max put Sonia Postema on track to become the district's first human resources director.

She started her new job July 16 at a starting salary of $83,000 per year.

Until now, Superintendent Steve Dackin said, human resource functions were spread out among the assistant superintendent, the treasurer and the business manager. Having one person on staff to handle those tasks frees the others to focus on their specialties, he said.

"We got to the point where the size of our district is such that I think the time has come to consolidate those responsibilities in the hands of one person," Dackin said. "Sonia comes in with that kind of background. She did HR responsibilities in the private sector, and I think she'll bring a unique perspective to us, given her experiences."

Born and raised in Wooster, Ohio, Postema, 29, currently lives in Gahanna with her husband, Bryan, and 2-year-old son, Aiden.

She graduated from Miami (of Ohio) University in 2000 with a degree in organizational communications, then spent the next two years as a substitute teacher with the Wooster city school district. She also was a seasonal employee with the Walt Disney Co., traveling back and forth from Wooster to Orlando, Fla.

Postema said she began working for Disney as a merchandise hostess at the Magic Kingdom while she was still in college. After graduating, she became a market researcher for the company.

In 2002, Postema took a job as human resource coordinator with the Hyatt on Capital Square in Columbus. She commuted back and forth from Wooster every day for sixth months before eventually moving to Columbus.

She then took a management position in 2003 with the Hyatt Regency in Boston and in 2005, was promoted to human resources manager at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

Postema said her husband, who works for The Westin, was transferred back to Columbus In 2007, so they both took the opportunity to move back and be closer to family.

Her background includes a stint as human resource director at the Holiday Inn Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark, which is where she met Max, who was the aquatics director.

After Max recommended Postema in the spring, Dackin called her to talk about opportunities in the district.

"Steve Dackin and I had an informational sit-down and we talked about the opportunity that might present itself with the schools," Postema said.

She was invited to the school's central offices in June to meet other employees and was offered the human resource director's position.

"I'm thrilled," Postema said of her new job with Reynoldsburg schools. "The opportunities are incredible to build this from the ground up. All the pieces are already here, so to put them together and be here for the employees -- it's an opportunity I don't think many people have in their lifetime."

As the district's HR director, Postema will be responsible for recruiting, hiring, employee relations and benefits. She said the biggest challenge right now is building the department.

"Every day and every single situation is a new situation and has to be looked at with fresh eyes," she said.

In addition to her HR duties, she said she plans to work on a master's degree in education or business administration sometime in the future.