Pickerington's two high schools will have new principals when the 2022-23 school year starts.
On May 9, the Pickerington Schools board of education unanimously approved the hires of Jim Campbell as principal of Pickerington High School North and Tom Lanier at Pickerington High School Central.
"Jim (Campbell) has been in our district for quite a while," Superintendent Chris Briggs said before the board's approval of his hire May 9. "He also has served as the principal of the Pickerington Alternative School. So, we're excited to have him join us as the new principal of Pickerington North.
"Tom (Lanier) was with us as a lead assistant at North and then went to be the high school principal at Westerville Central for the last five years. We're very fortunate to get someone with his experience wanting to come home."
Briggs added that both Campbell and Lanier live in Pickerington.
Both were given three-year contracts that will run through the end of the 2024-25 school year. While Lanier's contract begins Aug. 1, Campbell took over May 9 after board members noted he's served in a dual role as principal of the Pickerington Alternative School and lead assistant principal at North the past two school years.
Campbell served as principal of the Pickerington Alternative School since 2018. The Pickerington Alternative School is a school in the district designed to serve students at risk of dropping out and those who have fallen off track to graduation.
He also is a former athletic director and assistant principal at Central and will receive an annual salary of $120,000. According to the district, he will receive annual employee benefits, including life insurance and payments to his retirement pension, valued at $20,767.
"I've been an athletic director, an assistant principal, a principal at the alternative school and a lead assistant at North," Campbell said. "I believe this was an opportunity to continue my growth process, but I also truly believe my experiences are going to be valuable as we transition from the COVID period to getting back to our traditional high school experience."
Lanier, a former lead assistant principal at North, has spent the past five years as principal at Westerville Central High School. He also was an assistant principal at Reynoldsburg High School for two years.
He will receive an annual salary of $132,000. According to the district, he will receive a benefits package valued at $44,663.
Lanier has lived in Pickerington with his wife, Ann, since 1994. Their four sons all graduated from the Pickerington schools.
"We are very tied into the Pickerington community, and we love it here," Lanier said. "When I left five years ago, there wasn't an opportunity to become a principal in Pickerington and I grew up in Westerville.
"I thought this was an opportunity to come back and serve the community in which I live and help students in the community I live in."
Lanier replaces Stacy Tennenbaum, who will become principal at Fairfield Elementary. She was principal at Central for the past five years.
Tennenbaum was placed on administrative leave for three days last February after, according to a statement from the district, she informed district officials about a comment she made to a student Jan. 27 that was "perceived as culturally insensitive." She was reinstated following the leave.
Campbell replaces Mark Ulbrich, who resigned March 28 after serving as North's principal since August 2014. His resignation came after he was placed on administrative leave Jan. 24.
An investigation by the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio in April stated Ulbrich improperly handled a 15-year-old male student's return to school at North while the boy was awaiting trial for two sexual assault cases involving other children. The student that was allowed to return to school then allegedly sexually harassed a 7-year-old boy during a bus ride home from school.
Ulbrich and the parents of the accused teenager, who has been found delinquent in connection to two previous incidents of sexual assault, are the subjects of a civil lawsuit filed April 12 in Fairfield County Common Pleas Court.
Campbell said his top priorities will be setting "solid expectations and accountability" in line with the district's Positive, Behavior, Intervention and Support model.
"It's going in and re-teaching the fundamentals of being a high school student," he said. "There was some growth that students didn't necessarily receive (during the pandemic) because they weren't in our buildings full time.
"My main priority right now is to really focus in on what are the core values of Pickerington North students. We're going to look at progressive discipline, if needed, and we're going to create benchmark activities, or some fun activities and some incentives for students who are embodying the core values we set forth."
Additionally, Campbell said he hopes to further develop "authentic" job experiences for students who plan to enter the workforce after high school, as well as to bolster internship opportunities while in high school for students planning to attend colleges.
Lanier said he's looking forward to working with staff at North and Central, as well as others throughout the district, to "bring the community together to support both high schools."
"Truly, the most important thing right now is developing relationships with staff, with administrators, with janitors and other people in the building," Lanier said. "What's exciting is getting to know the students, finding out their names and getting to know what their needs are.
"That relationship-building is a top priority for all educators and certainly a top priority for me as I'm moving into a new environment. I appreciate the work that's done before I get there, and my hope everywhere I go is to leave a place better than I found it."
Megan Henry of the Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.
This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Pickerington Schools: Jim Campbell named North principal; Tom Lanier to lead Central