Canal Winchester school district officials have set their sights on starting a pilot internship program at the start of the next school year that could eventually involve all high school seniors and possibly juniors as well.

To that end, the school board agreed Jan. 11 to hire Kristin Ankrom as the district's internship coordinator, effective Jan. 22.

The part-time position, which runs through June 30, will pay $18,000, including benefits. The job is expected to take about 20 hours a week, and funding will come from Title III funds.

Ankrom, who earned her bachelor's degree in social work from Capital University, served as Fairfield County's executive director of information and referral from 2011 to the present.

Before that, she was grant coordinator, project coordinator, team supervisor and case worker for Fairfield County Job and Family Services from 2004-11; and chemical dependency counselor for the Community Transition Center from 2002-04.

Assistant Superintendent Kiya Hunt said the growth of the internship program at the high school has been discussed over the last few years.

"We feel our focus this year is to build relationships with students who are going to be involved and businesses/employers to find out what they want from us and what we can provide to them," she said.

Hunt estimated that a pilot internship program would include 60 students at the start of next school year.

"The vision is in three years to have every senior, possibly every junior as well, to be involved in an internship," Hunt said.

Superintendent Jim Sotlar said one of the reasons the district believes the internship program is important is so that students have something to "focus on once they leave high school."

Sotlar said some of the internships will allow students to see what programs they may want to purse in college or technical school.

"The most important part about this is giving students these experiences so that they make a better decision on that firsthand experience, whatever it happens to be in," Sotlar said.

New leaders

Board members also chose a new president and vice president during the Jan. 11 meeting.

Brian Niceswanger will move up from vice president to president, succeeding Jon Metzler; and Kevin Butler was elected vice president.

The board also established its meeting dates for the year.

Regular board meetings are scheduled at 7 p.m. the third Monday of the month at the Canal Winchester Education Center, 100 Washington St.

However, since Presidents Day is the third Monday in February, the next board meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at the education center.

The remaining regular meetings are scheduled for March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16, Aug. 20, Sept. 17, Oct. 15, Nov. 19 and Dec. 17.