Westerville News & Public Opinion

District fills four of six open principal positions

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Six new principals will become leaders of Westerville elementary and middle schools this August.

Two positions still need to be filled by the district, for Fouse and Hawthorne elementary schools. But three new principals were chosen to fill vacancies at Walnut Springs Middle School and Alcott and Pointview elementary schools. A fourth person will serve as the principal of both Hanby and Emerson elementary schools, which host district magnet school programs.

"These are strong people who are going to bring a lot of value to the community and the kids," Superintendent John Kellogg said. "I'm really looking forward getting into next year."

Fouse's former Principal Brian Orrenmaa and Hawthorne's Brett Gambill stepped down to pursue other careers in different districts. Jeanne Roth and Sam Dorff, former principals at Pointview and Alcott, both retired.

The district closed the job openings on June 22 and June 24 for the Hawthorne and Fouse principal spots.

The magnet school will have one principal next year instead of two. Monica Brown, who comes to Westerville from Columbus City Schools, will be principal for both Hanby and Emerson.

She will monitor administrative duties for both schools, but Brown is excited for the challenge and eager to help guide the reforming magnet programs.

"In reality, while I will be doing administrative duties for both schools, it is the magnet program," Brown said. "I am very confident in my ability to do it. It will take organization and logistics, and figuring out what works best."

Vicki Jarrell switched roles from principal at Emerson to become coordinator of gifted and talented services for the district. Jan Fedorenko, who was principal at Hanby, will retire after the 2014-2015 school year.

Fedorenko will assist in professional development for teachers with the magnet program, which will also help the new principal as she transitions into her new role.

Kellogg said Fedorenko's involvement with professional development will help both teachers and building administrators.

"It's one thing to open up the classrooms and get kids back in the classrooms, but it is a whole other thing to get teachers up to speed to the level as it was before," Kellogg said.

Kellogg added that the district had one principal as building administrator for two magnet schools in the past, and having one principal helps "balancing dollars."

Brown is ready to help revitalize and rejuvenate the magnet schools.

"I did do my homework. I do know that people are looking forward to it being back in the limelight. I'm looking forward to helping continue things that have already been done," Brown said. "There is great teaching and learning already going on and I look forward to guiding them back."

Brown worked in the Columbus City Schools district since 1997 and served as an elementary teacher, principal at Hubbard Elementary School and principal at Olde Orchard Alternative Elementary School.

Westerville's other recently hired principals include:

•Rebecca Yanni, who was assistant principal at Walnut Springs Middle School, will move up and replace Leslie Kelly as Walnut Springs Middle School principal. Yanni has worked in district since 1999 as a science and math teacher, an athletic director and was a principal at Wilder Elementary School.

•Joseph Uher, who joins Westerville schools from Delaware schools, will be Alcott Elementary School's new principal. Uher previously served as principal of Schultz Elementary School and assistant principal at Dempsey Middle School in Delaware, and a special education instructor at Ridgeview Junior High School in Pickerington Local Schools.

•Sherry Birchem, who returns to Westerville schools to become Pointview Elementary School principal. Birchem worked as a curriculum instructor for science and English language arts at Walnut Springs Middle School before leaving to become a principal in Northridge Local Schools.

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