Deanna (Dee) Martindale will be principal of Reynoldsburg's K-4 STEM school of choice at Summit Road Elementary when it opens this fall.

Deanna (Dee) Martindale will be principal of Reynoldsburg's K-4 STEM school of choice at Summit Road Elementary when it opens this fall.

The school has been under construction for almost two years.

Her base salary as principal will be a one-year contract at $80,000, not including benefits.

Martindale has coordinated the district's K-8 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiatives and two years of planning for the new elementary school.

In addition, she facilitated the development and implementation of Reynoldsburg's STEM Program of Excellence, a districtwide third-grade study of natural and manufactured water systems focusing on the Blacklick Creek watershed.

"Dee Martindale has demonstrated the sharp and energetic leadership that will make the Summit Road STEM Elementary stand out among Ohio's most innovative and high-performing schools," Superintendent Steve Dackin said.

"She has the respect of her colleagues across the district and leading educators throughout our region and the state," he said.

As a school of choice, Summit Road Elementary will house 430 students in kindergarten through fourth grade from across the district, along with 16 core teachers.

Martindale, 37, a native of Marietta, Ohio, moved to Reynoldsburg in 1998 with her husband, Brian, a 1993 graduate of Reynoldsburg High School. For the past four years, they have lived in Thornville, raising their two children, Camryn and Troy.

After graduating from Marietta High School in 1991, Martindale attended Marietta College, where she earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education in 1995. She taught sixth grade at Marietta Middle School for the next three years before moving to Reynoldsburg in 1998, where she landed a job as a sixth grade teacher at Hannah Ashton Middle School.

While teaching at Hannah Ashton, Martindale attended The Ohio State University, receiving a master's degree in 2001. She spent the next two years on assignment with the Science and Math Network, a nonprofit organization providing professional development for teachers statewide.

Beginning with the 2003-2004 school year, she was an instructional coach at Hannah Ashton and Waggoner Road middle schools, helping teachers with professional development.

"It was a learning curve for me, so I got to attend professional development and bring it back to the staff it's almost a train-the-trainer model where I go out and get the information and share it with staff," Martindale said.

In 2009, she began work on the district's K-8 STEM initiative.

"The thing that has been beneficial is that I've been a part of the planning and a vision all along, so it was a very easy transition (to being principal.) I've been leading the curriculum development and working with teachers," Martindale said.

Being named principal is a great opportunity and will be a challenge, Martindale said.

"It's definitely going to be challenging. I feel that we've promised a lot to the community with this new program, so I want to make sure that we can live up to everyone's expectations," she said. "With a new school, there's lots of things going on, it might be easy to get sidetracked, but I keep telling our staff that we have to stay focused, stay the course.

"We really want to make learning relevant to the kids, and we want them to leave our building enjoying school and feeling successful, no matter where they go," she said.

During the rest of the summer, Martindale said she will be working on curriculum development, class lists and schedules. Furniture for the new building will arrive in July.

"I plan to spend time in July making sure everything gets in the right room and just continue the planning to make sure it's as smooth of a start as possible when it opens on Sept. 6," she said.