Everyone counts. That will be the theme this school year at Gahanna Lincoln High School ...

Everyone counts.

That will be the theme this school year at Gahanna Lincoln High School, where new principal Bobby Dodd will welcome a freshman class of more than 700 students.

"We are continuing our focus on core values: purpose, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence (PRIDE)," he said. "We will incorporate each of these values and our theme into our mission of educating students for today and tomorrow."

Dodd, former New Lexington High School principal, took the reins at Lincoln from Dwight Carter, who left to become principal at New Albany High School. Dodd began working full time July 28.

"I'm excited to see him get to work," said Francis Scruci, G-J superintendent. "We have a new principal with new ideas."

Dodd said he's all about building relationships, and that's the same whether in leading a small rural school like New Lexington or a large one like Gahanna Lincoln.

"I'll be at a lot of events," Dodd said. "I'm in the classroom a lot. I'm rarely in my office. I focus on using innovative teaching methods in our schools so we can compete with other schools in the state and in the country. We use research-based methods so students are ready for the next stage of their lives."

Dodd also advocates accountability, he said.

"We have rules for a reason," he said. "We will make students and staff accountable and make sure policies and procedures fit the best for the community and the school."

Dodd said he would utilize social media to communicate with students, staff members and all district stakeholders.

"I'll share things with parents, share my own views and my educational thoughts," he said.

To stay connected with the high school, residents could follow the school on Twitter @GLHSLions; Dodd on Twitter @bobby__dodd; or Facebook at Gahanna Lincoln High School Lions. Students and parents also could use the school website via gahannaschools.org to locate important forms and information.

"I have an entry plan for my first year at the school," Dodd said. "I'm very transparent. Everything will be out there."

In a welcome letter posted on the high school's website, Dodd said, Lincoln continues to be a dynamic place with many educational and extra-curricular opportunities for students.

"One area of opportunity for our students is the new Innovation Generation program recently established in our school district," he said. "This program is a new state initiative allowing central Ohio high school students to gain skills needed for jobs of today.

"Central Ohio districts had the opportunity to focus on a variety of programs that were beneficial to their districts and communities. Gahanna-Jefferson has chosen to focus on advanced manufacturing/engineering and health care due to the industry partners in our area."

With grant funds, Dodd said, Lincoln is equipped with a distance-learning lab, where students and staff members have an opportunity to connect globally with other classes and schools.

"In addition to the distance-learning lab, Gahanna Jefferson also has a mobile fabrication lab,where students and staff have access to laser cutters, 3-D printers and robotics, among other technological resources," he said. "Students and staff have the opportunity to work with advanced technology and local industry leaders such as DynaLab and other engineering and manufacturing companies to continue to build relationships with the local business community."

Dodd said he's looking forward to the diversity Gahanna has to offer, having lived in a rural community.

During the interview process last spring, Dodd said, meeting the students was the best part of the process.

"When I met with the community, I felt a part of the community already," he said. "I felt this is where I needed to be, professionally, and with my family. I told my wife this feels right. I have a good feeling about it. We love the community, and we love the city."

When he isn't working or spending time with his family, Dodd said, he enjoys reading, running, biking, fishing and golfing.

Classes began Wednesday, Aug. 13 for G-J students in K-9, and the first day for all students is Thursday, Aug. 14.

A high school open house will be held 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 26.