Crothers named principal at Olentangy


Olentangy High School has its new leader for the foreseeable future, and it will be a familiar face as interim Principal Nichole Crothers will take over the role permanently on June 1.

Crothers was named the interim principal last December following the departure of Robert Griffiths, who resigned during the Olentangy Local School District (OLSD) investigation into complaints filed against him by a school employee.

Before taking over at Olentangy, Crothers was the district’s assistant director of professional learning. Other stops in the district include the assistant principal of Olentangy Liberty High School and the principal of Liberty Middle School across her 12 years in OLSD.

“I am super excited and extremely grateful for the opportunity to be here, and I’m looking forward to the great things we’re going to do for our students, staff and community,” Crothers told The Gazette.

While she wasn’t exactly looking to get back into building leadership at the time, Crothers said she never had a second thought about doing what was best for the district when it was scrambling in the wake of a difficult time.

“Knowing that I was at the administrative office and part of the team, and just the experience that I’ve had, I think I was one of a few people over there who were qualified to be able to step in and help in the situation our district leadership was in,” Crothers said. “I was approached to see if I was interested or would consider it to help the district out for the semester. I’m a team player, and I was like, ‘Absolutely.’”

In addition to serving a need in the district, Crothers looked forward to reuniting with some of her former students from Liberty Middle School.

“About 30% of our students from Liberty Middle School filter into Olentangy High School, so there are already students here that I would have previously worked with,” she said. “And just knowing that it was an opportunity for me to build relationships with the staff here and be reunited with some of the students while meeting a lot of new students, I was happy to step in and help out for the semester. I had no idea I was going to fall in love with it, but I did and here I am.”

Crothers began her career in education as a high school math teacher with Reynoldsburg City Schools before serving as both a high school and middle school administrator in the district. Crothers said her extensive experience in both the middle and high school ranks has allowed her to broaden her perspective on the transition students face when heading to high school.

“It’s helped me to have a better understanding now as the building principal here of how to help our students and support our families,” she said.

Crothers added, “I think the added perspective I gained by stepping out of a building and into a role in the curriculum department with professional learning, it really opened my eyes to K-12 education and what the full picture looks like. Honestly, I really grew myself professionally in instructional leadership. So now I feel more confident and excited to step back in as the building principal and help us move forward in the building.”

Taking over a building in the middle of a school year is an unenviable task for anyone, but the time in the building has allowed Crothers to begin setting the foundation for how she and her leadership team will attack the next school year.

“I think it’s been invaluable in that I’ve obviously jumped right in and started building relationships with the staff and students,” Crothers said of her interim role. “We’ve been really intentional with getting feedback on what staff and students feel comes next. So just really being able to take the opportunity, first as the interim (principal), to hear what the needs are here and how I can be supportive. But now that we’ve gotten that, it’s being able to move right into the work. We don’t have to wait until a summer transition with somebody new coming in to do that.”

Crothers believes the head start has allowed the building leadership team to analyze the feedback received and identify what their priorities will be moving forward.

“Because I was able to really get those relationships off the ground in December, we’re digging in and doing some of that work already,” she said. “It’s been a really good feeling, and I think very positive in the building. The vibe is good, especially among staff, with where we’re going, and with the students as well.”

While she and her team have their ideas about what they want to do in the building next year, Crothers noted Olentangy is already in a good place and hardly in need of an overhaul.

“I wouldn’t say that in this transition I have any intentions of walking in and drastically shifting or changing things,” Crothers said. “I think it’s just enhancing those things and bringing a different lens and perspective to help us continue to be better. One of our district values is that we can always get better, and I feel like my philosophy on leadership and education is definitely in line with our district values and what I hope to accomplish.”

Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

No posts to display