In Reynoldsburg City Schools, we have experienced a phenomenal start to the year! The first weeks of school have been filled with moments of celebration, collaboration and engagement.

I have been so pleased and humbled by the warmth and the spirit of our community and I sincerely thank them for the hospitality and the openness that they have displayed for me in my transition to moving here and into the role of superintendent. I am indeed proud to be a Raider and genuinely live the hashtag "#reynproud."

My tenure in Reynoldsburg began with a successful settlement of our negotiated agreement with our teachers. They are the core of our instructional program and the spirit of collaboration was apparent from the outset, which led us to completion in just four days. I am so thankful to work with such consummate professionals and individuals who united with the thrust of putting the needs of our students first.

We also engaged in a very productive administrative retreat with our principals and administrative staff, whereby we embraced a vision and a direction for our district as well as beginning the implementation of our common instructional framework. Key to that work was also to begin the process of constructing an identity for each of our schools to provide our community with choice and quality based on student needs and interests.

We worked diligently to create the synergy necessary to be reflective in our work, to enhance our strengths and to identify and strategize taking on our challenges.

Another primary component of my work has been to connect with our community. I participated in meetings with our City Council representatives, mayor, police and fire departments, members of local clergy, as well as a multitude of community representatives to foster strong ties of unity and collaboration. Some of the community highlights include the Reynoldsburg Fourth of July Parade, National Night Out, the Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival, the district's opening staff convocation, and the opening football game at New Albany.

I am so impressed by the passion and dedication of our staff and our community to this great city. I have been so excited to meet and to become familiar with our students and staff in their schools, classrooms, and club and athletic practices. On the first day of school, I was able to visit every one of our schools to welcome our students to the next day in their journey to excellence. Since that time, I have spent significant time in each of our schools while visiting classrooms, problem-solving, attending events and assisting in fostering a sense of pride in our students. They are the reason we do what we do and it is incredibly important to us for them to know how much we care about them and their future.

Our district has also been very fortunate to receive significant media coverage due to our stance on openness and equity for students, our lack of tolerance for any hatred, racism or bigotry and our engaged activities surrounding our recent solar eclipse. The manner in which we have started to share our daily lives in school via social media and other venues has given our community a glimpse into the intricacies and challenges of maintaining a large school district on a daily basis. We fully demonstrate that we are committed to the mission of fulfilling the dreams of our students and our community. Those things will never fade.

We continue to have much to do to fulfill our mission of "Learners Today, Leaders Tomorrow."

We also subscribe to the notion that our students are leaders today. They have capacity to accomplish anything and they, too, will play a large part in the leadership of our community.

The future is bright for Reynoldsburg City Schools and we are anxious to reach and exceed our potential. The 2017-18 school year brings both opportunities and challenges for the district and I look forward to working with the various stakeholders to promote Reynoldsburg City Schools as an innovative and forward-thinking district, not only in Ohio but on a national level.

Melvin J. Brown is superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools. This column is provided to ThisWeek Reynoldsburg News by his office.