The Gahanna-Jefferson schools welcomed a new high school principal, constructed bleachers at the football stadium and passed a permanent improvements levy in 2014.

The Gahanna-Jefferson schools welcomed a new high school principal, constructed bleachers at the football stadium and passed a permanent improvements levy in 2014.

The district also bid farewell to Dale Foor, longtime coordinator of community services.

Board hires Dodd as high school principal

The Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education approved a two-year contract with Bobby Dodd as Lincoln High School's new principal effective Aug. 1, 2014, through July 31, 2016.

Dodd had served as New Lexington High School principal in Perry County since 2011. He also worked as a technology education teacher at New Lexington High School and Crooksville High School from 2001 to 2011.

Superintendent Francis Scruci said Dodd had a high energy level matched by very few.

"He talked to students and staff about being lifelong learners," Scruci said.

Dodd said he and his family were excited about moving to Gahanna.

"I know the kids are great," he said. "I knew this was the right place for me. I'm thankful we're here, and we'll do great things here in Gahanna."

Dodd said his educational vision is to prepare every student for lifetime learning opportunities while providing collaborative and innovative learning environments, allowing all students the opportunity to succeed.

He replaced Dwight Carter, who resigned at the end of the school year to become principal of New Albany High School.

Athletics donors, partners finance new bleachers

August also marked the opening of new bleachers for fans to cheer on the Lions teams.

Athletics director Justin Sanford said the cost of the $700,000 bleachers was financed by Gahanna athletics donors, partners and a personal seat-license option.

The new bleachers accommodate 3,200 fans on the west side of the field that became the new home side.

Sanford said the bleachers increase the capacity at the stadium by 2,000 seats for a total of 6,700 seats.

He said the Lions' home side was on the west side of the field in the 1950s, but that changed when the bleachers on the east side of the field were built in 1969 or 1970.

Supporters of Gahanna athletics could purchase seats in a reserve section that have chair backs.

The Gahanna Planning Commission in late May approved a certificate of appropriateness for the site plan for the bleachers and a press box for the stadium at 140 S. Hamilton Road.

Michael Blackford, deputy director of planning and development, said the bleachers have a footprint of 13,066 square feet. The parking is accommodated on the school property, including the spaces at Clark Hall.

A new press box is 8 feet by 24 feet, with a vinyl siding exterior in the center of the stands. It could accommodate 10 people.

The bleachers were constructed by Dave York Sports of Louisville, Ky.

Sanford said the stadium is used from March to November. The new seating capacity gives Gahanna the opportunity to host more playoff games, he said.

Voters narrowly approve improvements levy

It was a close call for the Gahanna-Jefferson schools on election night, Nov. 4, when voters approved a 2.16-mill permanent improvements levy by 351 votes -- 8,421 to 8,070.

The levy will raise about $3 million annually and is earmarked for fixing damaged school roofs, replacing aging school buses and costly and outdated HVAC systems, updating classroom technology and replacing old and energy-inefficient windows.

The funds may be used only for items with a life expectancy of at least five years.

Scruci told the school board Nov. 13 that interviews with architects would be scheduled in December. He said he would meet with teachers to discuss and gather input concerning technology in an effort to help shape decisions.

"Now that we have money designated for technology, we'll start tailoring needs of teachers for technology in classrooms," Scruci said.

During his report to the board, he thanked the community for the support displayed at the polls.

"I want to personally thank each and every person who contributed through donations to the campaign, canvassing, literature drops and putting signs in yards," he said. "To run a successful campaign, you have to have a great deal of help and a lot of great people willing to sacrifice their time with their own families to do something for not only the students of today but (also) those students who will walk our halls in years to come."

Foor retires as community-services coordinator

After 44 years of working with the Gahanna schools, community-services coordinator Dale Foor retired at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

As Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation president, Foor led the 10th year of promoting excellence in the school district during the Feb. 22 Gahanna Gala at Villa Milano.

He said it was celebration time because $1.4 million had been raised from all sources that contributed to the foundation over the past decade.

The anniversary event also was the best and biggest, he said.

The sold-out Gahanna Gala brought 440 guests and set a live-auction record of $23,000.

Event coordinators provided Foor with a fake itinerary for the gala, pulling off a surprise that featured his daughter flying in from New York to help celebrate his last year of heading the event.

"I was honored," he said. "My family was there for the final thing. It was very humbling."

Over the past 10 years, Foor said, the foundation has awarded 450 grants totaling more than $600,000, thanks to business partners and a caring community that have supported fundraising efforts to enrich educational programs and provide excellence throughout the district.

The event has grown from raising $63,000 at the first fundraiser at the Jefferson Country Club to about $120,000 this year.

Event coordinator Christy List said the gala sold out two weeks before the event.

"Overall, we were glad we had a sold-out crowd," List said. "We had great items this year. And we made it a celebration of Dale since he's leaving us."

Foor said the future is bright for the foundation and its fundraisers.

"It has been my privilege and an honor to lead the education foundation for 10 years," he said.

Two longtime volunteers, Sharon Tomko and Tricia Twigg, were hired to share the position of community-relations and outreach coordinator after Foor's retirement.

School board members approved a one-year contract through the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio for Tomko and Twigg to have them share the position.