Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools' Assistant Superintendent Scott Schmidt is a finalist for the superintendent's post with Northridge Local Schools in Licking County.

George Tombaugh, assistant superintendent, client services, of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, said Schmidt was selected as one of three finalists for the post after first-round interviews involving six candidates were held June 27 and 28.

A total of 28 applications were received for the job being vacated by Chris Briggs, effective Sunday, July 9.

Briggs has accepted the superintendent's position with the Pickerington Local School District.

In addition to Schmidt, the other two finalists are Brian Blum, principal of Wright Elementary School in the Dublin City School District, and Garilee Ogden, director of curriculum, instruction and professional development in the Groveport Madison Local School District.

"Narrowing the list was a difficult task due to the high quality of our options," said Doug Hart, Northridge school board president. "Each of our three finalists presents a unique set of strengths that will serve the district well going forward."

Tombaugh, who will serve as interim Northridge superintendent beginning Monday, July 10, said the board is expected to vote on its new superintendent on Wednesday, July 12.

Second interviews were scheduled for July 5.

Tombaugh said the top qualities district leaders are seeking for the new superintendent are leadership, communication (community relations) and vision.

"We'll look at someone who shows the ability to reach out and go the extra mile to communicate," Hart said. "We need someone to successfully pass a levy. There's nothing more critical than solving the building problem."

He said educating the students is what the district is about.

"We need a leader who can oversee the improvement of various areas," Hart said.

Schmidt has worked as Gahanna's assistant superintendent since August 2016. He served as the district's interim superintendent from February 2015 to July 2016.

He previously worked as the district's executive director of elementary education from 2013-15.

Other roles he has held with Gahanna include executive director of business and school improvement, Chapelfield Elementary School principal and instructional support coach.

Blum has worked as Wright's principal in Dublin since 2013. He previously worked as a principal for two elementary schools within the Hilliard City School District from 2003-13.

He also worked as a principal within the Westerville City School District.

Ogden has been in her current position as Groveport Madison curriculum director since 2016.

She previously worked as director of professional development and accountability for the Upper Arlington City Schools from August 2013 to July 2016.

She also was an elementary principal in the Dublin City School District from 2010-13, and principal of Franklin Woods Intermediate in the South-Western City School District from 2008-10.

This marks Tombaugh's second stint as interim superintendent for Northridge. He previously served as interim from October 2012 to January 2013, when Briggs was appointed superintendent.

Tombaugh said residents of the 137-square-mile district have much community pride in the district, and he's happy to assist again

The new superintendent is expected to start work Aug. 1.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla