Marilyn Troyer, the former deputy superintendent of public instruction for Ohio, last week was named the first chief of innovation, improvement and human capital for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Marilyn Troyer, the former deputy superintendent of public instruction for Ohio, last week was named the first chief of innovation, improvement and human capital for the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

The school board approved her contract Dec. 12. She will earn $121,000 in salary, with a total compensation of about $148,000 when benefits are factored in, according to figures received from the district.

Superintendent April Domine said Troyer's contract is similar to former human-resources director Cara Riddel's contract except it has no full paid benefits and no annuity. Troyer will pay 15 percent of the cost of her insurance, with the district paying the rest, which is the same as other administrator contracts.

The district will pay Troyer's life insurance premiums, pay into the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) and pay a portion of Troyer's contribution to Medicare.

The district's contribution to her health care and life insurance will cost $13,434 annually, treasurer Brian Ramsay said. According to the contract provided by the board, Troyer will "receive two times her salary in life-insurance benefits rounded to the nearest $500 and family health and dental insurance, including prescription drugs, with such coverage as is provided to other administrators."

Contributions to STRS are 10 percent of Troyer's salary and the Medicare contribution is 1.45 percent, Ramsay said. That would equate to $12,100 and $1,754.50, respectively.

According to the contract, Troyer can earn up to 4.5 percent of her base salary in performance-based compensation if she completes her goals through the start of the next school year, as determined by Domine. For each contract year after that, she can earn up to 9 percent of her base salary in performance-based compensation if she completes her goals, again as determined by Domine.

"The (school) board is moving away from these other forms of compensation to performance-based compensation for this portion of compensation," Domine said. "Therefore, the chief of innovation now has a similar performance-based compensation section consistent with what is in my contract at a lower rate."

Troyer, whose first day will be Jan. 3, will work directly with Domine. Her position replaced the district's human resources director.

She will assist in the oversight and leadership of the district's educational program, according to a release from the district. She will "serve as a key leader and facilitator in bringing staff together through collaboration, guiding the organization to grow and learn, and engaging the community to reach the district's vision to be one of the most innovative and high performing districts in the nation," the release said.

"Her extensive, successful background in building relationships, leading visionary education innovation and improvement through collaboration is an excellent match for our district," Domine said in the release.

Troyer most recently was the executive director of professional development services at Ashland University, where she is also the director of the Telego Center for Educational Improvement. Prior to that, she worked for the Ohio Department of Education for 21 years.

Troyer said she applied for the position because New Albany is such a distinguished school district with a solid reputation. Domine also played a role in her decision to apply, she said.

"April Domine is on the cutting edge of education, innovation, best practices and benchmarking," she said. "I was really intrigued by the vision she laid out to me and what she's trying to do."

Troyer said she does not anticipate any issues beginning her job in the middle of a school year.

Added Domine: "Starting a position such as this in the middle of a school year is actually an excellent opportunity to be part of building the coming school year. This provides an opportunity for Dr. Troyer to work with me to plan for recruiting and hiring, to support current district goals under way and have the chance to be part of the work, as well as be involved as we begin planning for the next school year, which begins in the winter."

Troyer is a native of Plain City and she earned three degrees from The Ohio State University: a bachelor's in elementary education, a master's in early and middle childhood, with a focus on literacy, and a doctorate in teacher education. She said she taught elementary classes for seven years before moving into administration.

While working with the Ohio Department of Education, Troyer developed school policies. She said it will be interesting to implement some of the policies she helped develop.

More than 50 people applied to the position after Riddel resigned in June to become superintendent of the Westfall Local School District in Williamsport.

Domine said six individuals were interviewed. They were Troyer; Veronica Motley, director of instruction at South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools near Cleveland; Gary Barber, assistant superintendent of the Big Walnut Local School District; Susan Kaler, chief operating officer of the KIPP charter school in Houston; David Martin, an executive principal in the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools in Nashville; and Erin Roche, principal of Prescott Magnet Cluster School in the Chicago Public Schools system.

Kaler and Roche removed themselves from consideration, citing the amount of the salary being offered, Domine said.

"The salary offer was too low compared with what both individuals currently are making," Domine said.

Troyer, Barber and Motley were chosen as final candidates.

"The final three candidates had additional interviews, which included (school) board members and administrators and the PLEA (Plain Local Education Association) president, (who) gave feedback to me," Domine said. "I then made the final decision.

"Dr. Troyer rose to the top of the list with her exceptional blend of experience leading educational improvement, complex projects, her strong collaborative and relationship building skills bringing many partners together and her extensive knowledge of the state and national conversation regarding the future of public education.

"Marilyn will be an exceptional addition to our team. ... We are so fortunate to have someone of not only her caliber and expertise, but with her positive, relationship-building and collaborative approach, partnering with our team as we strive to achieve our vision for the future."