Pam Bertke will be the new principal at Herbert Mills Elementary School beginning this fall.

Pam Bertke will be the new principal at Herbert Mills Elementary School beginning this fall.

Bertke replaces former principal Jana Alig, who is the district's new director of elementary education.

She will be paid an annual base salary of $78,898 plus $17,000 for insurance. Her previous salary was $71,858 per year.

Bertke, 36, has spent the last eight years in the in the Reynoldsburg school district, six as a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Hannah Ashton and Waggoner Road middle schools, one year as dean of students at Waggoner Road Middle School and this past year as an administrative intern at Herbert Mills Elementary.

As principal, Bertke said she wants to take a very focused and data-driven approach to students.

"Right now, we have room to grow and things to improve upon," she said. "I'm thrilled and excited. It's what I've waited for and wanted for a couple of years.

"Being at Herbert Mills after I worked there for one year, I know this is exactly the place I want to be," she said.

Bertke said she learned a lot from Alig during the past year at Herbert Mills.

"My main goal is to continue what we've done, that's the biggest thing, because last year, they came off of a 25-year principal (Craig Seckel), then Jana and I came in and worked real closely," she said.

A native of Coldwater, Ohio, Bertke received her bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Ohio State University and a master's degree in elementary education from Ohio State in 1998.

She said her interest in wanting to become a teacher really took hold when she was a lifeguard during her high school years. In addition, she also was inspired by her father, Hank Schwieterman, who was a high school English teacher while she was growing up.

"I would always go to school with him and pretend to be a teacher my whole life," Bertke said. "My first experience in teaching, really, was when I was a lifeguard teaching young kids how to swim and not to be afraid of the water, and I enjoyed what the kids took away from it."

Assistant superintendent Dan Hoffman acknowledged Bertke's experience and said the district is confident she will do a great job.

"I've watched her as she worked with Jana Alig at Herbert Mills and we're pleased to have Pam on board as principal," Hoffman said.