Jamie Lusher recommended as South-Western City School District deputy superintendent

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group

Jamie Lusher, Grandview Heights Schools' assistant superintendent and chief academic officer, is the recommended choice as the South-Western City School District's new deputy superintendent.

The SWCSD board was expected to vote June 14 to accept Superintendent Bill Wise's recommendation of Lusher's appointment. Check ThisWeekNEWS.com/GroveCity for updates.

Jamie Lusher

Wise said he was "truly excited" to recommend Lusher's appointment.

"Dr. Lusher has a wealth of experience in all facets of education," he said. "Her curricular knowledge and expertise are the best I've seen in my 31 years of educational experience."

Pending board approval, Lusher would begin her duties in South-Western on Aug. 1 with a two-year contract, said Sandy Nekoloff, the district's executive director of communications. Her starting salary would be $164,000, and she'd be eligible for a complement of benefits, including insurance coverages and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pension contributions.

Two finalists were interviewed for the position, Nekoloff said. The other was Thomas McDonnell, director of secondary education at Dublin City Schools.

Lusher will replace David Stewart, who's appointment as Hilliard City Schools superintendent was approved May 17 by the Hilliard school board.

"I wasn't looking for another job, but when Dr. Wise called me about this position, as we talked about South-Western and the vision they have in the district, it seemed like it might be a good fit for me," Lusher said. "I will miss Grandview immensely. I love the people I work with, the students, the volunteers, the staff and the community. But this is a great opportunity professionally, and I'm excited to be joining another district that, like Grandview, is so student-centered.

"It's an opportunity to work in a district that is one of the top five in the state in terms of enrollment and despite that has been able to do so much to meet the individual educational needs of their students," she said. "That is appealing to me."

Lusher, 43, has served since August 2014 as Grandview Heights Schools' assistant superintendent and chief academic officer.

Before coming to Grandview, she was the coordinator of academic achievement for Worthington Schools and served as principal at Wilson Hill Elementary School in Worthington and at New Albany-Plain Local Schools' New Albany Middle School.

She has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from Ohio University.

Although Grandview is a small district with three school buildings and South-Western is Ohio's fifth-largest district by enrollment, "there is a lot of connection between the two districts," Lusher said.

The two districts partnered with Hilliard City Schools and the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio four years ago to create the Big Think, an educational symposium for teachers and administrators, she said. The districts also have partnered on other professional development projects.

"I have a lot of respect for the work they are doing in South-Western," Lusher said. "It's a district that is very student-centered."

South-Western's student-centered philosophy was shown by its commitment to providing all-day, everyday kindergarten for its students, she said.

"It's one of the largest districts in Ohio, but as large as they are, the leadership team is very effective," Lusher said. "They told me they consider themselves 'the smallest big place you can find.'

"You have four high schools in South-Western, yet each has its own unique culture and community," she said. 

Both districts are engaged in facility improvement projects, with South-Western constructing four new middle school buildings and renovating other middle school sites as part of the second phase of its Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project.

Grandview is building a new grade 4-8 school building and making major renovations to its high school.

The projects are allowing both districts to provide students with state-of-the-art school buildings that will offer a 21st-century learning environment, Lusher said.

It's difficult to leave Grandview, she said.

"I'm leaving the best part of myself in Grandview," she said. "I'm really proud of all we have accomplished academically over the past seven years. It was done collaboratively as a team.

"I'm thrilled to be joining the team in South-Western."

According to her bio page on Grandview Heights Schools' website, Lusher resides in Powell with her husband, Ralph, and their children: Braddock, Tatum and Avery.

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