Susan Martin started the school year Monday, Aug. 24, with a new job as principal of Slate Ridge Elementary School.

Susan Martin started the school year Monday, Aug. 24, with a new job as principal of Slate Ridge Elementary School.

She succeeds Karen Hand, who moved into a new position leading the district's speech language pathologist initiatives.

The Reynoldsburg Board of Education approved hiring Martin effective Aug. 19, with on a one-year contract and a starting salary of $72,980.

Human resources director Sonia Postema said 31 candidates applied for the position. Martin was chosen from among three finalists who were interviewed by a panel of administrators, teachers and two community members.

Martin, 52, has lived in Reynoldsburg for 25 years. Her husband, Chip, Martin, is a member of the school board, and abstained from from voting on whether to hire her.

They raised two children, son Charlie who graduated from RHS in 2002, and daughter Betsy who graduated from RHS in 2004.

Martin graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1980 with a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education. She worked as a substitute teacher for a few years at various elementary schools in central Ohio, including Groveport and Pickerington, before she was hired in 1985 to teach at Scottwood Elementary School in Columbus, where she stayed for 13 years.

In 1997, Martin was hired to teach fourth-grade at Taylor Road Elementary School. After one year at Taylor Road, she took the next four years off while her children attended high school.

"While they played football and tennis, and they were swimmers, I was the mom on the side bringing the drinks and drove to the tennis matches -- so I did the 'mom thing' for four years," Martin said.

She said another reason she took four years off is because her husband was traveling a lot during that period.

In 2002, she returned to teaching, again as fourth-grade instructor at Taylor Road. When Slate Ridge opened in 2005, she took a job there as a fourth grade intervention teacher.

In 2006, Martin was hired as the district's elementary standards coordinator. In that job, she worked with all six elementary schools doing instructional coaching with elementary teachers, helping with data assessment for the district and with implementation of Reynoldsburg's standards-based report card.

"I worked with the administration and teachers and worked at 'what do we do next to make the best educational experience we can for these kids?' That was a great experience, actually. I learned a ton about personalized instruction, the importance of data -- I was involved with the standards-based report card," Martin said.

"I also learned a lot about the Ohio Department of Education and their expectations involved in how they affect schools," she said.

Martin said she became interested in applying for the principal job at Slate Ridge because while she was an elementary standards coordinator, she saw how principals worked with the teachers and the impact it had on students.

"I wanted the opportunity to be a principal to work with teachers to help kids, and I think principals can make an impact," Martin said.

"I'm really thrilled about being at being Slate Ridge, and I'm thrilled to be here with this great staff," she said. "They've all been very supportive this is just a great place to be over here."

Since transportation has been cut this year districtwide, Slate Ridge will be served by five buses instead of 10. Martin said the staff will be as prepared and ready as it can be.

"We'll adjust our focus and be looking at our car rider line with a little more focus and be watching out for our walkers, so instead of 10 buses parked out front, we're going to have a little longer car rider line and five buses out front," Martin said. "I realize this is the year of change but with a different look here it's still going to be a great place for kids."