New principal Aric Thomas said he is proud to become a "part of the wolf pack" at Worthington Kilbourne High School.

The high school's mascot is the wolf and its motto is: "For the strength of the pack is the wolf and the strength of the wolf is the pack," a line by Rudyard Kipling.

Thomas, 39, was hired in May to replace Angie Adrean, who was named chief academic officer. She has been principal at Kilbourne since 2011.

Thomas has been principal at Groveport Madison High School since 2010. Before that, he was assistant principal at the school for four years.

"I know Aric will do a tremendous job for us," said Superintendent Trent Bowers.

Hired at an annual salary of $127,428, Thomas will be offered a benefits package that includes nearly 16 percent of his salary paid into the State Teachers Retirement System and health-insurance benefits of $16,073.04 if he opts for family coverage or $5,984.40 for single coverage, according to Jeff McCuen, the district treasurer.

Dental benefits would be offered at an additional $1,278 per year.

Thomas and his wife, Donita, have been married for 17 years and have three children: Riley, 15; Makenna, 12; and Tyler, 6.

"We also have a dog, and her name is Bailee," Thomas said.

He earned a master's degree from Ohio State University and is licensed in educational policy and leadership. His bachelor's degree is from Wittenberg University, where he majored in math and minored in education.

Thomas will begin his new position Aug. 1.

He said he was attracted to the culture of Worthington City Schools.

"Dr. Bowers has created a supportive culture focused on the development of students, and this is aligned with my core beliefs," he said. "Not only the academic development, but the social and physical development are equally important.

"During the interview process, the sense of family was felt at every step and I am impressed with the genuine nature of all the people I've met."

His goal as an educator is "to support the development of students by providing a diverse series of learning opportunities through coursework, volunteering, internships, clubs and activities."

"Allowing students to find their passions and effectively grow as people through these opportunities is essential," Thomas said.

He said supporting and developing staff members also is important to help give them the tools and expertise to build good experiences for students.

Getting to know his new staff members and students would be a pleasure, he said.

"I'm going to events to see people as much as I can and I'm taking advantage of opportunities to interact and talk with people," he said. "I've attended a staff meeting, interviewed candidates with teams consisting of staff members and met some students while working out in the WKHS weight room.

"I look forward to growing with the school community."

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek