Big Walnut Local Schools has hired Angie Pollock as its new director of academic achievement.

Big Walnut Local Schools has hired Angie Pollock as its new director of academic achievement.

Pollock will assume the role Aug. 1, said assistant superintendent Gary Barber, who said she's already working on the transition.

For two years she has served as middle school principal, a position that Penny Sturtevant will fill.

The director's "sole responsibility is to improve academic achievement for students in the district," Barber said.

Pollock said, "My main job is to coordinate all of the initiatives that we have either embarked on by choice or by mandate and make sure that we have a realistic, comprehensive plan -- including resources -- for providing our students with the best education possible."

Her first steps, she said, will be building relationships with the teaching staff and gaining an understanding of what is done at each grade level.

"I have been meeting with teachers and administrators to determine needs and how I can best help them grow in their capacities to serve students," Pollock said."Because we did not have anyone in my current role last year, I am trying to get everything organized so we are ready to start the school year with a clear focus to our adult work, which drives the work we do with students in the classrooms."

Because of budget constraints, the position has been half-time for a couple of years. The school board agreed to a full-time position in June.

During the coming years, the district must implement a number of curriculum-related state and federal initiatives.Having a full-time director in charge of that is essential for success, officials have said.

"This is an exciting and challenging time in education," Pollock said. "We are converting to new national standards in English lang-uage, arts and math and to new state standards in science and social studies. This is a four-year process that is being supported by the state as part of the Race to the Top initiative, in which Big Walnut is participating."

Pollock will work with the district's technology coordinator and committee to create a plan for purchasing technology and training teachers to meet the technology portion of the new state standards.

Another important role for Pollock will be that of district liaison to the Ohio Department of Education on academic achievement.

While the district has had someone in the position for about 12 years, budget constraints caused officials to leave the position vacant for the 2010-11 school year after Pat Martell left the district in July 2010.

It was a half-time position at the time and had been for several years, Barber said.

In June, the board of education approved making the position full-time with an annual salary of $85,000.

Pollock and her family live in in the district. Her husband, Dan, is a Delaware County sheriff's deputy. They have two elementary-age children.