Robert Griffiths' decision to take the job of principal at Olentangy High School has led to mixed emotions for students and staff at Liberty High School.

"I've had a lot of 'Yay for (you) and boo for us' reactions," he said. "It's very exciting for me that I've had that kind of impact."

School board members May 18 voted unanimously to hire the Liberty assistant principal as the next leader of Olentangy High School.

Liberty Principal William Warfield said he counts himself among the folks who will be sad to see Griffiths head east.

"We're going to miss him a lot. He's a valuable member of this team," Warfield said. "He's going to do an excellent job at Olentangy."

Griffiths, 49, has served as an assistant principal at Liberty since 2015. He previously taught science at Hyatts, Liberty and Shanahan middle schools.

Before becoming an educator, Griffiths worked in sales at Fisher Scientific, a lab equipment and supply business, for about a decade.

The district selected Griffiths from a field that included three other finalists:

* Jason M. Bates, assistant principal at Olentangy High School. Bates previously taught at Olentangy Orange High School and Orange Middle School.

* John R. Carder Jr., assistant principal and athletic director at Grove City High School. Carder previously worked as an assistant principal at Harding High School in Marion.

* Nathan D. Huffman, principal at Highland High School near Sparta in Morrow County. Huffman previously taught math at Orange High School and also served as a football and track coach.

The job at Olentangy High School opened when Tom McDonnell announced in April he intended to leave in the summer to take a position with the Dublin City School District. McDonnell was one of four finalists to become the first principal at Olentangy Berlin High School, but the district eventually hired Westerville Central High School Principal Todd Spinner for the role.

Sixty candidates applied for the role of principal at Berlin High School. Forty-one candidates applied for the same job at Olentangy High School.

Griffiths said he is joining a school with strong traditions and a history of excellence.

"It's a great place to walk into," he said.

Griffiths said it will be his goal to make sure every student at Olentangy High School discovers what they are best at, whether it be academics, art or athletics.

"My vision is to help every kid find their passion," he said.

Griffiths lives in Powell with his wife, Kristi. They have two adult children: Abby, 20, and Mitchell, 21.

Griffiths' annual salary will be $107,500. The total cost to the district, including benefits, will be $144,930.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@TWGallick