Mark Raiff gave his first report as Olentangy Local Schools’ new superintendent at the district’s Board of Education meeting last Thursday.
“I feel really proud of the positive energy with my transition,” Raiff said. “I’m so honored to have the opportunity to be superintendent, but even more proud of the positive feedback I’ve gotten. We’ll just continue to work hard to meet the expectations of the community, and meet the challenge of this position.”
Raiff took a page from the previous superintendent, Wade Lucas, by talking about “good things” in the district before describing the action items he was presenting to the board.
“I would say this has been another smooth opening,” Raiff said of the start of classes last Wednesday. “I have been in 11 buildings in two days, members of our leadership team have been all over the place, and I’m getting nothing but positive reports. Kids seem very happy to be back. So far, so good.”
He praised the bus drivers and dispatchers.
“Transportation did a great job,” Raiff said. “If you ever want to watch a show in action, you need to see our transportation dispatchers on the first day of school and listen as they’re trying to get all the buses in and make sure that all the kids are home safely. It is a true work of art.”
There are an estimated 19,600 students in the district to start the 2015-16 school year.
Raiff said the late Jennifer Lawrence Kent of Tyler Elementary and Anne Schueren of Wyandot Run Elementary were honored as employees of the year at the district’s convocation. He also said the July open house at the Olentangy Academy drew 85 students; the launch of the district’s new website has had 37,450 visits; the “Fab Lab” at Shanahan Middle School received a $150,000 anonymous donation; and the Orange High School marching band will perform during the 2016 Peach Bowl.
After a search that ended in June, the school board selected Raiff over a dozen other candidates. Raiff, 50, had been chief academic officer for the district since 2011, and is the first internal candidate to be selected as Olentangy’s superintendent. His prior experience includes positions as principal at Olentangy and Westerville Central high schools; and executive president of the Ohio Capital Athletic Conference. He was educated at Case Western Reserve University, John Carroll University and Cleveland State University.
Outgoing superintendent Lucas will remain with the district through the end of August.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.