A contract extension will keep the Olentangy Local School District's top administrator in place through the end of the 2022-23 school year.

The Olentangy school board voted unanimously June 22 to approve a five-year contract extension for Superintendent Mark Raiff, who was hired to succeed Wade Lucas in summer 2015. Raiff's initial contract was set to expire after the 2017-18 school year.

Raiff said he looks forward to staying put at the "best district in the state of Ohio."

"I'm very blessed to work with a great board, a great staff and a great community," he said.

Board President Roger Bartz said in a statement board members have confidence in Raiff's ability to guide the district successfully.

"Mr. Raiff's experience and forward-thinking approach have been invaluable in navigating the district to a position where it can continue to accommodate for its growth while remaining committed to its mission to facilitate maximum learning for every student," he said. "This agreement ensures that leadership continues."

Bartz said during the negotiation process the extension "absolutely is an endorsement" of Raiff's leadership over the past two years. Bartz cited a recent successful ballot issue, redistricting efforts and union negotiations as some of the district's accomplishments under Raiff's guidance.

Earlier this month, the board voted to approve a 2.25 percent raise for Raiff, which will increase his annual salary to about $167,000. In the first year of the contract extension, Raiff's salary will increase to $175,000.

Raiff's previous contract was set to expire just shy of the opening of Olentangy Berlin High School, which is being funded by a bond issue passed by voters last year. The superintendent said the building should solve high school crowding problems that existed when he took the job, but enrollment strain will persist at many elementary school and middle school buildings.

"Growth isn't slowing down," he said.

Along with continuing to tackle problems caused by enrollment growth, Raiff said his goals for the future include pushing for more funds from the state and helping students who struggle with "nonacademic barriers to learning."

Raiff previously served as the district's chief academic officer and principal at Olentangy Liberty High School.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@TWGallick