Distance and the COVID-19 pandemic did not impact the Buckeye Valley Board of Education’s ability to hire two new principals and reassign one, all in preparation for what is expected to be a busy summer.
At Wednesday’s virtual BOE meeting, the board approved the reassignment of Buckeye Valley Middle School Principal Brian Baker to serve as the new principal at Buckeye Valley High School. In addition, the board hired Matthew Gallatin as the new Buckeye Valley Middle School principal and Brian Orrenmaa as the new Buckeye Valley West Elementary School principal.
The reassignment and hires are a result of the retirement of Jim Albanese and Barry Lyons, who will depart their Buckeye
Valley High School and Buckeye Valley West Elementary School principal positions, respectively, effective July 31.
Baker is a familiar face around the Buckeye Valley Local School District as he most recently served as principal at Buckeye Valley Middle School. Baker, a graduate of Otterbein University, has served as BVMS principal for the past six years, where the school, under Baker’s leadership, has enjoyed success and change.
Baker is responsible for establishing multiple academic courses available for high school credit to eighth grade students. In addition, he established a strong music department and implemented “Baron time,” which provides students extra academic help during school hours.
During his tenure, BVMS staff has presented at numerous state and national conferences, and the school has garnered several awards, including the prestigious state Momentum Award (2018) and a national Pacesetter Award (2019).
Prior to his arrival at BV, Baker worked in the Southwestern, Franklin Local and Southwest Licking school districts.
Buckeye Valley Superintendent Andy Miller praised Baker’s leadership at the middle school level and his ability to expand upon recent high school success.
“I am confident Mr. Baker will continue the tradition of excellence already established at BVHS under the leadership of Jim Albanese,” Miller said.
Baker received his master’s degree in education from Ashland University and is currently pursuing a doctorate of education.
Gallatin, a 19-year education veteran, will join the BV staff after most recently serving as principal of Liberty Union High School, where he led a team of 50 teachers, administrators, directors and classified staff members. Prior to his four-year stint at Liberty Union High School, Gallatin served as assistant principal at Northeastern High School in Springfield, Ohio, and held teaching positions in Dublin and Sandusky. Gallatin holds his master of education degree from Ashland University and is currently pursuing his educational doctorate at The Ohio State University.
Gallatin is excited to join the BV community.
“It was apparent through my process that the staff of Buckeye Valley is dedicated and motivated to meet the needs of each individual student,” he said. “I am excited and honored to join a team that demonstrates the value of “Every Kid. Every Day.”
Buckeye Valley West Elementary will be home to Orrenmaa, who is returning to central Ohio after several years in Virginia, where he most recently served as principal of George Mason Elementary School in the Alexandria City Public School District.
A 2000 graduate of Gannon University, Orrenmaa received his master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton and has held positions in the Mt. Gilead, River Valley and Westerville school districts prior to his recent position in Virginia.
Orrenmaa is looking forward to returning to the area.
“I was drawn to Buckeye Valley because of the strong sense of community and commitment to supporting growth of the whole child,” he said. “I am excited to be a member of the Buckeye Valley family.”
Miller is looking ahead and believes that all three principals will be great additions to the current staff and school atmospheres, and he’s particularly excited about the new hires.
“I feel strongly that the district is already trending in a positive direction and adding new ideas and vantage points will only make us better,” he said.
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