Jagger named as Berlin High School principal


With Todd Spinner set to leave Olentangy Berlin High School to become Cardington-Lincoln Local Schools’ next superintendent on Aug. 1, Olentangy Local Schools has tabbed Benjamin Jagger to serve as the next principal at Berlin.

Jagger is no stranger to the halls of Berlin as he served as the assistant principal at the school for four years before leaving last May to accept the principal position at Johnstown Intermediate School.

“It was a wonderful time and a wonderful opportunity,” Jagger said of his first stint at Berlin.

Jagger grew up in Indiana and began his career in education there as a teacher for grades six through 12. After he and his wife added triplets to the family, the two decided to move to his wife’s hometown of Westerville to be closer to family that could assist with the growing household. His first job in central Ohio was as the assistant principal at Groveport-Madison High School.

The principal role in Johnstown is the first as the primary leader of a building for Jagger, and his responsibilities have included central office tasks such as human resources. He called the school year a “great year of growth” which has forced him to expand the ways he approaches school administration.

“I think the higher that you go, the more you take on internally,” he said of being a head principal. “As the assistant principal, you’re more in charge of the students, and then with the teachers, you kind of take guidance from the head principal. In my building right now, and I am the only administrator; I don’t have a dean of students or anything, so I still kind of carry those assistant principal responsibilities with student discipline and attendance and all of the day-to-day operations.

“But then also, your job responsibilities kind of broaden to a community aspect and engagement of families and local businesses and a lot of those community partnerships … It’s just being more involved in that 10,000-foot view of education where we’re really creating that school-to-community bridge.”

When Jagger learned of Spinner’s departure, he said he was immediately drawn to the idea of returning to the Berlin community and “continuing those traditions.” He noted Berlin has “probably the best high school climate of anything I’ve ever been a part of,” and it didn’t happen by accident.

“We worked very hard to build that positive climate and culture,” Jagger said. “We worked really hard to make sure we continued with those traditions even as we grew. Honestly, it was a no-brainer for me (to return) because I want to make sure that Berlin excellence continues. I couldn’t leave that up to chance, so it was something I wanted to make sure I threw my hat in the ring to make sure we’re still a special place to be.”

That he is already familiar with the building and the community is undeniably advantageous and should allow Jagger to hit the ground running in August.

“I already know a lot of the school data,” he said. “I already know most of the staff … I think getting to know the climate, culture, data, and staff and having all of that already in my back pocket is beneficial. I think the hard part about it though is that I’m moving to a new role within that building. I’m no longer the assistant principal who’s working on a lot of the day-to-day operations. Now I’m driving the vision of the building. The difficult part about it is people might see me in my previous role as the assistant principal and think that’s going to be the exact leadership style I carry as the head principal, but I think the jobs are different enough that I’m still going to be the same personality but it might be a slightly different style of leadership.”

Having spent four years working alongside Spinner, Jagger said Spinner’s commitment to having a daily presence throughout the building is an element he plans to continue when he takes control of the building.

“Todd is in the classrooms every single day,” Jagger said. “He walks the building at least three times a day and makes sure he’s out of his office; he has a mobile office. Those types of things, I plan to be the same type of leader in that regard. I’m going to be out and about with the kids. I won’t be at as many after-school activities as Mr. Spinner because I have 9-year-old triplets, but I still plan to be a figurehead with the community and build those relationships … We’re the center of the Berlin community, and we want to make sure that the community understands that we’re here for them, their kids, and their families to make it the best place that we can.”

While Jagger is quick to deflect any attention from himself by instead highlighting the work the teachers and students are doing, he said he hopes people come to see he is the type of leader who cares about the kids in the building and even after graduation.

“I’m excited to get back to Berlin and see where kids are going and keep them engaged in the school system,” he said.

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

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