Dear Olentangy families,
I’ve recently been asked, "how long have you been Olentangy’s superintendent?" I answered eight years…. and while it really has only been 18 months, it oftentimes can feel like longer with all the opportunities and challenges we are facing on a daily basis!
During the last 18 months, the District determined it was past time to address our heavily over-crowded schools and put an issue on the ballot to build a fourth high school. The issue passed in March 2016, nearly a year ago. Since that day, the necessary next step - redistricting - has weighed heavily on my mind. Every day I spend time driving through the District, thinking about the best alternatives for new attendance boundary lines, knowing that change can be difficult.
I am very appreciative of the work of the Attendance Boundaries Committee, a 55-member committee comprised of community members, knowing their job has been far from easy. This volunteer committee has met monthly or more since September, conducted three community forums, and is presently reviewing feedback from 1,300 community members on the scenarios the committee brought forth to the community. Their dedication and work on this complex project has been outstanding. They will make their final recommendation to me in early March, and I will announce my decision the week of March 13 through a video message to the community.
Throughout this past year, I have spoken with many of you about your children, your families and the possibility of changing schools. I’ve talked with you about the excellent teachers and coaches your children have had and hope to have, about the concept of transporting to and from school, about friendships, teams, organizations, traditions, communities and future academic and extra-curricular aspirations. We’ve spoken, you and I, about the challenges I face as a superintendent and you face as a parent. Through each of these conversations and exchanges I am struck by one common theme, a deep sense of pride and appreciation for your school communities. With a District that spans 95 square miles, encompasses seven townships, four cities and parts of two counties, the same school spirit and passion exists in all 23 of our school communities. We do not wear Liberty Blue, Braves Blue, or Pioneer Blue; we wear Olentangy Blue. We are not east side, west side, north side, south side. We are not Lewis Center, Clark Shaw Road, Powell, Orange or Berlin Township. We are one school community with a common desire to provide an outstanding experience for your children, our students. We are One Olentangy.
While the decision I am about to make will not meet everyone’s desires to remain at their current school, it will encompass our entire District, our whole school community. Approximately 17 percent of our students will move and be welcomed into new school communities by the remaining 83 percent of students. At the high school level, some students will be joining existing school communities, creating a new high school community, and others will be developing a community where there once was none. Throughout this experience, I have no doubt we will continue to be strong and grow in our pride in the Olentangy Local School District, in our school community, in our One Olentangy. I am confident we will continue to be the outstanding school district we are today and in fact, believe we will be even better as we provide a high-quality educational experience in an optimal environment for each and every student.
While change is rarely easy, I know that in this case, change is necessary to continue to meet the needs of all Olentangy students, and I am proud that we can do that here, because we are One Olentangy.
Proud to serve as your superintendent,