Both Pickerington high schools will have new principals at the start of the 2022-23 school year.
On May 9, the School Board of Pickerington Schools unanimously approved the hirings of Jim Campbell as Principal at Pickerington High School North and Tom Lanier at Pickerington High School Central.
“Jim (Campbell) has been with our district for some time,” Superintendent Chris Briggs said before the board approved his hire May 9. “He was also the principal of Pickerington Alternative School, so we are delighted to have him join us as the new principal of Pickerington North.
“Tom (Lanier) was with us as a senior assistant at North and then became high school principal at Westerville Central for the past five years. We are very lucky to have someone with his experience who wants to come back to the home. “
Briggs added that Campbell and Lanier live in Pickerington.
Both were given three-year contracts that will run until the end of the 2024-2025 school year. While Lanier’s contract begins August 1, Campbell took over on May 9 after board members noted he had served in the dual role of principal of Pickerington Alternative School and senior vice-principal of North at the during the last two school years.
Campbell has served as principal of Pickerington Alternative School since 2018. Pickerington Alternative School is a school in the district designed to serve students at risk of dropping out and those who have lost their degrees.
He is also a former athletic director and assistant manager at Central and will receive an annual salary of $120,000. According to the district, he will receive annual benefits, including life insurance and pension payments, worth $20,767.
“I’ve been athletic director, vice principal, alternate school principal and assistant principal at North,” Campbell said. “I believe this was an opportunity to continue my growth process, but I also truly believe that my experiences are going to be invaluable as we move through the COVID times and back to our traditional high school experience.”
Lanier, a former senior vice-principal at North, has spent the past five years as principal at Westerville Central High School. He was also a vice 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 worth $44,663.
Lanier has lived in Pickerington with his wife, Ann, since 1994. Their four sons are all graduates of Pickerington schools.
“We’re very connected to the Pickerington community, and we love it here,” Lanier said. “When I left five years ago there was no managerial opportunity in Pickerington and I grew up in Westerville.
“I thought it was an opportunity to come back and serve the community I live in and help the students in the community I live in.”
Lanier replaces Stacy Tennenbaum, who will become principal of Fairfield Elementary. She has served as director of Central for the past five years.
Tennenbaum was placed on administrative leave for three days last February after, according to a district statement, she informed district officials of a comment she made to a student on Jan. 27 that was “perceived as culturally insensitive”. She was reinstated after the leave.
Campbell replaces Mark Ulbrich, who resigned March 28 after serving as North manager since August 2014. His resignation came after he was placed on administrative leave on January 24.
An investigation by the Central Ohio Educational Services Center in April found that Ulbrich mishandled the return to school of a 15-year-old student in North while the boy was awaiting trial in two cases sexual assault involving other children. The pupil who was allowed to return to school then allegedly sexually harassed a 7-year-old boy on a bus ride home from school.
Ulbrich and the parents of the accused teenager, who was convicted in two previous sexual assault incidents, are the subject of a civil lawsuit filed April 12 in Fairfield County Common Pleas Court .
Campbell said her top priorities would be to set “strong expectations and accountability” in line with the district’s positive, behavioral, response and support model.
“It’s about coming in and re-teaching the fundamentals of being a high school student,” he said. “There has been some growth that students haven’t necessarily received (during the pandemic) because they weren’t in our buildings full time.
“My main priority right now is to really focus on the core values of the students at Pickerington North. We’re going to look at progressive discipline where necessary, and we’re going to create benchmark activities, or fun activities and incentives for students. students who embody the core values we have set forth.”
Additionally, Campbell said he hopes to further develop “authentic” work experiences for students planning to enter the workforce after high school, as well as bolster high school internship opportunities for students who plan to attend college.
Lanier said he looks forward to working with North and Central staff, as well as others throughout the district, to “bring the community together to support both high schools.”
“Really, the most important thing right now is to develop 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 learning about their needs.
“This relationship building is a top priority for all educators and certainly a top priority for me as I settle into a new environment. I appreciate the work that has gone into getting there, and I hope wherever I’ll leave a better place than I found.”
Megan Henry of the Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.