Ann Perez said she was in the eighth grade when she became excited about teaching as a profession.

It happened when a music teacher reached out to her, urging her to get back into band. Perez played the trumpet.

"Then it unfolded from there," she said.

Years later, Perez was student teaching and discovered a love for middle school. For 17 years, she made that her career, serving as a principal and assistant principal at multiple middle schools.

Now Perez is bringing her experience to the Dublin City Schools district. On Aug. 1, she will become Davis Middle School's principal.

Tracey Deagle, Davis principal for the past five years, will be the district's new deputy superintendent. She replaces Tracey Miller, who has been named superintendent of New Richmond Schools southeast of Cincinnati.

Superintendent Todd Hoadley said the district wanted to find someone who could continue the great work Deagle had done at Davis. Perez, he said, has the experience and attributes.

Since 2015, Perez served as executive director of teaching and learning with Bowling Green City Schools.

Previous positions include principal at Williamsburg Middle School in the Arlington County Public Schools in Arlington, Virginia; principal at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School at Falls Church City Public Schools in Falls Church, Virginia; and assistant principal at George Mason High School in Falls Church City Public Schools.

She has a bachelor's degree in music education from Bowling Green State University, a master's degree in educational policy and leadership from Ohio State University and a doctorate in education leadership and policy studies from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Perez will receive a salary of $121,979 and a benefits package of $36,593.70, for a total compensation of $158,572.70, said Doug Baker, Dublin Schools' public information officer.

Deagle had received a salary of $116,991 and a benefits package of $35,097.30, for a total compensation of $152,088.30, he said.

Fifty-two people for the Davis post, Hoadley said.

Dublin administrators interviewed 12 candidates at the central office, Hoadley said. Six were selected to be interviewed by parents, teachers and district administrators, he said. Perez, along with Davis Assistant Principal Jason Snyder, received final interviews.

"We're excited to have Ann come on board," Hoadley said.

Perez said she applied because she wanted to be part of a large, progressive school district.

"Dublin is absolutely that," she said.

Perez said she looks forward to getting to know the staff and students and return to a school setting rather than a position in a central office.

One of the things she said she loves about working with middle school students is that their growth potential is immeasurable. As they learn how to be young adults, the students need adults around them who love them, she said.

"They're amazing young adults," she said.