Lincoln Elementary School will have a new principal, Claire Giardino, when the 2017-18 school year begins in Gahanna.

"I am very excited to be a part of the Lincoln and Gahanna community," Giardino said.

The school board hired Giardino effective Aug. 1 to take over the reins from James A. Micciulla, who served as Lincoln principal for seven years. Micciulla has accepted the principal's post at Darbydale Elementary School in the South-Western City School District for next school year.

Assistant Superintendent Scott Schmidt said officials are pleased to welcome Giardino.

"During an extensive interview process with multiple candidates, Claire rose to the top of the group," Schmidt said. "Her experience with quality instructional strategies and behavioral management strategies were both key factors in setting her apart."

Although Giardino's official start date is Aug. 1, Schmidt said, she already has attended the Summer Professional Development Institute with 300 other teachers and has been in the building to meet with teachers and make plans for the school year.

Schmidt said her salary will be $110,146, plus $31,000 in benefits, including retirement and insurance, for an annual compensation package of $141,146.

Giardino said she has heard wonderful things about the Gahanna community and school district.

"When they had the opening, I felt I needed to apply and it would be a great fit," she said.

Giardino said she has visited the school a couple of times and took her sons, who will attend the elementary.

"We're all really excited," she said. "We will be moving the whole family to Gahanna (from Athens) as soon as we find a house. We will move into the Lincoln (attendance area). We believe in being part of our community."

She and her husband, Vince, are the parents of three sons: Dario, a fourth-grader; Danilo, a first-grader; and 2-year-old Renzo.

Giardino comes to Gahanna from Athens City Schools, where she served as principal at East Elementary School, leading a group of 389 students and 25 faculty members.

Prior to her tenure in administration, Giardino spent 11 years as a classroom teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools in northern Virginia. She also is a national board-certified teacher.

She received her bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in reading education from Ohio University.

She also received a master's degree in administration and leadership from George Mason University.