The high quality of Grandview Heights Schools made it a desirable landing spot for Quint Gage -- but his close ties to the district played a part, too.
Gage, who will start Aug. 1 as Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School's principal, said he already feels a connection to the district as a resident of the community whose two children attended Grandview schools from kindergarten to graduation.
"I wanted to work here, but I didn't want to put my kids through the situation of attending school at the same time I was a principal or administrator," he said.
When his son, Chase, a member of Grandview's class of 2013, died in May 2015 at age 19 after a car crash in Urbana, "we were overwhelmed by the support we received from the people in this community," he said.
Gage and his wife, Laura, established a scholarship fund in Chase's memory to support students in Grandview and Hilliard (where Laura serves as a teacher) and at Wittenberg University, the school both Quint and Chase attended.
His new position as principal at the school his son and daughter, Selby, both attended "hopefully is a way I can give a little something back to the community that's meant so much to my family and me," he said.
Gage currently serves as director of personalized learning for Bexley City Schools.
The Grandview school board approved his hire March 12.
Superintendent Andy Culp said Quint is a proven leader.
"He is student-centered and a very, very caring person," Culp said. "He believes in the importance of building strong and trusting relationships with staff, families and, most importantly, students."
Before beginning his current role in Bexley at the start of the 2019-20 school year, Gage served 10 years as principal at Bexley's Montrose Elementary School. He previously served six years as assistant principal at Barrington Elementary School in Upper Arlington and nearly seven years as an eighth-grade science, social studies and math teacher in the South-Western City School District.
But education actually is his second career.
"I started out in business, working in sales and marketing and later as a workers'-comp third-party administrator," he said. "It was fulfilling work, but I still wanted something that would have more meaning and could make a difference in people's lives."
He found inspiration from his wife's teaching career.
"I could see the impact she was having on students," Gage said.
What appeals to him about education is helping students grow as learners and as individuals, he said.
Gage said he is coming to Edison/Larson at a challenging, yet exciting time.
The challenge is having to maneuver through the disruption caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, he said.
"I'm particularly concerned about the transition our fourth-graders will be making next year into a new school after the conclusion of their third-grade year has been so disrupted," Gage said.
"We don't know yet what next fall is going to look like, but I'm highly doubtful we'll be opening school with business as usual next year," he said.
"My main concern at first is to make sure we're able to keep our students and staff safe. We're having to engage in instruction and communication with our students and families in ways we've never had to before and learn and adapt to work within a new learning environment."
The excitement stems from the project to construct a new grade 4-8 building adjacent to the current Edison/Larson school.
"It's going to be such a wonderful opportunity for our students to move into their new building in a few years' time," Gage said.
Gage will earn an annual salary of $105,000 in a contract that will begin Aug. 1 and end July 31, 2022.
He also will receive the standard health and medical insurance and life insurance provided by the board to administrators in the district.
The board will pay Gage's share of medical insurance premiums. The annual cost to the board for employee-only coverage is $811, and for employee and spouse, $1,439, assistant treasurer Jennie Clifton said.
All district employees receive board-paid dental coverage, she said.
The board will pay for Gage to receive 1.5 times his salary in life insurance, representing an added annual cost to the board of $124, Clifton said.
The board also will cover the cost of Gage's contribution to the State Teacher Retirement System, a benefit it offers to all of Grandview school administrators.
The district pays the administrators' standard 14% STRS contribution plus an additional 14%, Clifton said.
This "pickup on the pickup" results in an actual percentage of 15.96% of their salary, she said.
Gage's salary of $105,000 means the annual board cost of the STRS pickup is $16,758, Clifton said.