The new school year will bring new principals to Darbydale Elementary, Holt Crossing Intermediate School and the South-Western Career Academy.

The new school year will bring new principals to Darbydale Elementary, Holt Crossing Intermediate School and the South-Western Career Academy.

The career academy's new principal actually isn't new.

James Marion served four years as the school's assistant principal under Shirley Moore, who retired at the end of last year.

"I'm very excited about my new position," Marion said. "One of the special things about being at the career academy is that you get to see kids working within their passion, whether that be automotive, cosmetology or health technologies.

"It's so rewarding to help students develop their passions into skills and help them get a start in the industries they're interested in," he said.

Along with the technical skills, Marion said the career academy is putting an emphasis on helping students learn "employability skills," that will help them gain, keep and succeed on a job.

A new electrical trade program at the career academy will give students the opportunity to complete a two-year program in that area while also completing an apprenticeship with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, he said.

Darbydale's new principal, April Weese, comes to South-Western from the Lakota Local School District near Cincinnati, where she served last school year as assistant principal at VanGorden Elementary School.

She also served previously as an educational consultant at the Hamilton County Educational Service Center, working with teachers and providing professional development at all grade levels in schools in the Cincinnati area.

Weese said she has enjoyed getting back to working directly with students.

"I always loved working with children," she said. "It was exciting to me to help them grow and learn. When I was in high school I worked as a coach in gymnastics and other sports. That experience led me to want to become a teacher."

Elementary age children "have such a great perspective on the world," Weese said. "They see things as they really are. And they have such enthusiasm about learning. They want to learn."

She said she is enthusiastic about coming to South-Western.

"South-Western is doing some wonderful things and there's such great community support with the elementary building project," Weese said. "It's going to be a special year at Darbydale, moving into our new building."

Denise Lutz joins Holt Crossing as its new principal after spending the past six years in the Reynoldsburg City School District, the last three as principal at Hannah Ashton Middle School.

"I relocated to Grove City about a year ago and I really enjoy the community," Lutz said.

Despite its size, there is a small-town feel about the South-Western district, she said.

"It's a place where different parts of the community want to work together and be supportive of the schools," Lutz said.

Lutz is in her 25th year of education, but initially "tried the engineering route" as an undergraduate at Penn State.

"I realized early on that was not a good fit for me," she said. "I love math and science, but I realized my driving force was to be of service and to help people grow and learn."

When she started her career as a high school physics teacher in Pittsburgh, it was a chance to integrate her love of math and science with her passion for education, Lutz said.

Working with middle-school and intermediate-school aged students is rewarding because it is a chance to help students as they go through a transition from child to teenager, she said.

"They still want to learn and they still have a desire to please adults," Lutz said. "They haven't become too jaded yet."

And there are other benefits, she said.

"Middle-grade students are so humorous," Lutz said. "They can really make me laugh."