Like many educators, the Grandview Heights City School District's new director of student services was propelled into her career by the impact of a teacher.

Like many educators, the Grandview Heights City School District's new director of student services was propelled into her career by the impact of a teacher.

For Madeline Partlow, the impression left by her sixth-grade teacher in Gahanna on her and her family opened her eyes to what teaching was all about.

Partlow's family had moved to Ohio from Kansas after learning that her father was missing in action in Vietnam. It took 30 years for his presumed death to be confirmed.

"My mom moved us to central Ohio because she was so close to her sister who lived here," Partlow said. "My sixth-grade teacher helped us get situated and was so supportive, not just of me, but my siblings and my mom, who was going through such a difficult time.

"It made me realize how much of a difference a teacher could make in a student's life," she said. "From then on, I wanted to be a teacher."

Partlow joined Grandview in her new role Aug. 1. She replaces Jennifer Haddow, who left the district to become the director of early childhood education at the Childhood League Center.

What's so exciting about being in Grandview, Partlow said, is the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of every single student in the district.

"I love the fact that my office is located in (the high school)," she said. "In a small district, you're able to get to know every student and family, as opposed to a bigger district where you may only know the students in your building.

"The better you know students and families, the more closely you can work with them to determine how best to meet the needs of the student."

Most recently, Partlow worked as an elementary school principal in Worthington. Before that, she served as director of teaching and learning in New Albany. She also has served as a teacher, principal and administrator at both the elementary and middle school level.

"I've enjoyed being an elementary school principal again, but I was ready to do central-office work again," Partlow said.

Grandview is a highly regarded district among educators, Partlow said, adding she was eager to join a team led by Superintendent Andy Culp and Chief Academic Officer Jamie Lusher.

For Partlow, familiarity breeds admiration. She previously worked with both Culp and Lusher in New Albany.

"I know their leadership style and their vision of where they want the district to be," she said.

Culp said he is thrilled Grandview is where Partlow wanted to be.

"First and foremost, she is truly an amazing person and educator who always puts kids first," he said. "Our staff, students and community are fortunate to have her working for and with our students."

The district had several outstanding applicants for the position, but no one with the wide range of experience that Partlow offers, Culp said.

"There isn't a meeting, no matter what the issue, that she can walk into and not have a breadth of knowledge and experience to offer," Lusher said. "That's so important, especially in a small district where we all have to wear a lot of hats."

"There's a spirit of collaboration and teamwork in Grandview that is so appealing to me," Partlow said. "That's my style. Working together and supporting each other as a staff is how you come up with the practices to best support your students."