Although school is out for students, four members of New Albany High School's leadership team are devoting time this summer to prepare for their new roles.
The new leaders are principal Kenneth Kraemer, dean of students Pat Samanich and assistant principals Katie Roberts and Kevin Freeman. Samanich and Roberts are longtime members of the New Albany-Plain Local School District staff, and Kraemer and Freeman come from other districts.
Kraemer, a Westerville resident, replaces Dwight Carter as principal. Carter left the school to join Dynamix LLC -- a Columbus-based consulting agency that works with schools and districts to improve effectiveness and accomplish strategic goals, according to its website.
Kraemer's salary is $120,000, and he has a total annual compensation of $151,264.80 when benefits are included, according to district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.
The former Licking Heights High School principal said he and the leadership team -- which, in addition to Freeman, Roberts and Samanich, includes assistant principal Michael Carr and deputy principal Amy Warren -- have met several times and will continue to do so over the summer.
They are looking at high school data from standardized-test results to figure out ways to work with teachers to improve students' academic performance, Kraemer said.
Other initiatives include implementing the R Factor, a popular response-and-outcome training framework, and developing Noble Academy, an online college and career-learning environment designed for students who are challenged by a traditional school setting.
District leaders decided to implement Noble Academy to help at-risk students graduate on time, said Superintendent Michael Sawyers.
Although the high school previously had three assistant principals at the high school, the district was able to add a fourth position by using funds available to local school districts from the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio, Sawyers said.
Increasing student enrollment at the high school, along with the creation of Noble Academy and students' and staff members' needs, required additional support for responsibilities, he said.
The district hired Roberts as assistant principal because of her experience teaching in the classroom, Sawyers said. Her internal knowledge of the school and its culture will help her improve it, he said.
Roberts, a Marysville resident, had taught English at New Albany High School since 2010. She also taught senior seminar -- a New Albany High School graduation requirement in which students research an idea and create a product or complete a project -- chaired the English department for the past two years and served as an administrative intern.
Her salary is $80,500, and she has a total annual compensation of $107,512.33 when benefits are included, according to Gallaway.
Roberts said she sought out the role of assistant principal because she wanted to become more involved in leadership at the high school, and she is excited about the implementation of Noble Academy.
"This new program is something that I wanted to be involved in firsthand and help it grow and thrive," she said.
To that end, Roberts said, she's working this summer on familiarizing herself with the academy's online platform.
She also is developing a handbook for the internship and work-study portion of the academy, she said, as well as thinking about how the "R Factor" relates to Noble Academy students.
Although Roberts' position is a new one, Sawyers said, Freeman replaces LeNora Angles, who left the district to move to Florida.
The district had 112 applicants for the two assistant principal positions, Sawyers said, and interviewed 20 candidates.
Freeman has 15 years of administrative experience as a middle school principal, Sawyers said.
"He has no learning curve as an administrator," he said.
Freeman will transition from a middle to a high school environment, Sawyers said.
"He has the skill set," Sawyers said.
Freeman, a Reynoldsburg resident, most recently was principal of Sherwood Middle School in Columbus, a position he held since 2014.
His salary is $97,000, and he has a total annual compensation of $129,548.91 when benefits are included, according to Gallaway.
Freeman said he wanted to learn about high school to help give him the experience necessary to someday become an assistant superintendent or a superintendent.
"This is a great opportunity, to come to New Albany," he said.
This summer, he and other members of the high school leadership team are meeting with teachers and department leads to learn about what projects they are leading, Freeman said.
He also is reviewing test scores, working on student and staff handbooks and planning back-to-school events for students, he said.
Although the fourth new person to join the high school's leadership team isn't a member of the administration, he has been a fixture at the district for a long time.
Samanich, a New Albany resident, has been employed by the district since 2006 and had served as head football coach since 2013. He stepped down as head coach April 30 because of the promotion.
Samanich, who teaches multimedia technology at the high school, said he would spend next school year focusing half his day on teaching and the other half on his dean-of-students responsibilities.
Samanich is considered a teacher rather than an administrator, Sawyers said, and had availability to undertake dean responsibilities.
He will assume two periods a day as dean, Sawyers said, helping implement R Factor training in the school and help with student discipline.
Because dean is a teaching position, it was open only to staff members, Sawyers said. Samanich was among three people who interviewed for the position, he said.
The high school didn't have a dean last year, Sawyers said, because none of the teachers had available time. Dean responsibilities depend upon a teacher's classroom availability each school year, he said.
The district chose Samanich for the position because of his extensive background with the R Factor, as well as his leadership in the classroom and on the field, Sawyers said.
For his part, Samanich said, he has a good knowledge of the high school and is excited about the new challenge. To prepare, he has been talking daily with other members of the leadership team about supporting student achievement, growth and well-being, he said.
"It's kind of a transition phase right now," he said.
Samanich's salary is $93,631, and he has a total annual compensation of $108,145.61 when benefits are included, according to Gallaway.