Greta Gnagy looking forward to principal role at Olentangy Schools' 16th elementary

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek
Greta Gnagy, currently Olentangy Middle School assistant principal, has been named the principal at Olentangy Schools' 16th elementary school, which will open for the 2021-22 school year. Gnagy, pictured Dec. 11, will transition to her new position in January.

Greta Gnagy was on the faculty at Indian Springs Elementary School when it opened in 2003.

She recalled the process of opening a new building with fondness, calling the effort to build a school community from the ground up “open,” “participatory” and “exciting.” 

At the time, she hadn’t determined that her career would involve administration, but the possibility was in the back of her mind.

“You always hope for it. It’s a blessing to get to do it,” Gnagy told ThisWeek.

She has been named principal of the district’s newest – still unnamed – elementary school. It will be Olentangy Schools’ 16th and is scheduled to open at the start of the 2021-22 school year.

Currently the assistant principal at Olentangy Orange Middle School for three years, Gnagy brings 20 years of experience in education to the role. She joined the district in 2000 as a teacher and was named the district's 2007-08 Teacher of the Year as a physical-education teacher at Indian Springs. She has been a teacher, a coach and a mentor and has served in principal roles in the district.

“A lot of previous students and athletes have been reaching out,” Gnagy said. “Some of them I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s been surprising and touching.”

Superintendent Mark Raiff has expressed his confidence in Gnagy.

“She’s going to do a great job creating a culture,” Raiff told school board members Dec. 10, when the hiring was approved.

“We are going to build a culture embedded with optimism, pride and a sense of belonging for these students,” Gnagy said. “And we want that culture to extend beyond the school building and be something that’s for the entire school community.”

“As we grow, we are fortunate to have incredibly talented leadership within our district to open our new schools in the Olentangy way,” Raiff said in a recent news release. “We know that this elementary school will be a place our young students will flourish with Greta’s positive energy and extensive experience here in Olentangy.”

School board member Kevin O’Brien said he has seen Gnagy in action.

“I’ve had the opportunity to observe Greta engage with both students and staff at Orange Middle School and have been very impressed,” he told ThisWeek. “She is a very caring individual and was always visible and accessible to parents and staff. I know she’ll do a great job opening and running elementary 16.”

Gnagy credited the principals with whom she has worked in the district, as well as Raiff, for encouraging her to pursue leadership positions as a teacher and certification as a school administrator.

“The district has established an environment that allows for growth, individually and professionally,” Gnagy said. “People see things in you and encourage you and provide you with opportunities.”

She said Olentangy has no shortage of principals who have opened buildings in the district and offered their support as she begins the process. 

More:Olentangy Schools' 16th elementary on target to open next school year

More:Olentangy Schools redistricting plan starts as 16th elementary's construction begins

The new elementary school is under construction on 14 acres in the new Berlin Meadows development in Berlin Township, near Peachblow Road and a planned extension of North Road.

The school is the first of three to be built after voters approved a ballot issue in spring 2020. 

Gnagy will begin transitioning into her new position, which will include overseeing the staffing process, in January.

Gnagy has a 226-day administrative contract for two years and six months starting Jan. 4, 2021, at an annual salary of $85,000. She'll also receive a benefits package that will bring her total compensation to $117,204. Her current salary is $75,120.

District spokeswoman Amanda Beeman said a name for the new school is scheduled to be announced in January. The redistricting process, establishing the attendance boundaries for the new elementary school, is expected to be completed by March, Beeman said.

Gnagy said she hopes to be able to open the building physically for all the students next August.

Even if the start of the next school year is affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, she said, her staff will work to overcome those obstacles and create a sense of community in the new school's population.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews