Grandview Heights Schools: Jamie Lusher leaving for South-Western City Schools post

Alan Froman
ThisWeek group

Grandview Heights Schools assistant superintendent and chief academic officer Jamie Lusher is leaving the district to take a new role as the South-Western City School District's deputy superintendent.

Grandview Heights Schools will move quickly to hire her replacement, Superintendent Andy Culp said.

Jamie Lusher

"Our goal is to bring a recommendation to the school board at a special meeting (in the early part of July)," he said.

That will allow the new person to be in place before Lusher's last day July 31, he said. 

The South-Western school board voted June 14 to accept Superintendent Bill Wise's recommendation of Lusher's appointment. She will start in South-Western on Aug. 1.

Lusher said she's leaving with mixed emotions.

"I wasn't looking for another job, but when Dr. Wise called me about this position, as we talked about South-Western and the vision they have in the district, it seemed like it might be a good fit for me," Lusher said. "I will miss Grandview immensely. I love the people I work with, the students, the volunteers, the staff and the community. But this is a great opportunity professionally, and I'm excited to be joining another district that, like Grandview, is so student-centered."

Lusher, 43, has served since August 2014 as Grandview's assistant superintendent and chief academic officer.

Before coming to Grandview, she was the coordinator of academic achievement for Worthington Schools and served as principal at Worthington Schools' Wilson Hill Elementary School and at New Albany-Plain Local Schools' New Albany Middle School.

She has a Ph.D. in educational leadership and administration from Ohio University.

"I'm proud of what we've been able to achieve here in Grandview collaboratively as a team," Lusher said. "And that's one of the great things about Grandview – the level of collaboration among our teachers and staff to provide the best possible results for each of our students."

That success is shown by more than just Grandview receiving an overall A grade on the state report card, she said.

The district's curriculum has been strengthened "so that our transcripts allow our students to go where they want to after they leave us, whatever pathway they want to follow," Lusher said.

Grandview Heights High School ranked fourth among central Ohio high schools in U.S. News and World Report's 2021 Best High Schools report, she said. The district's score of 96.82 out of 100 placed it in the top 3% of Ohio high schools and in the top 4% of all high schools nationwide, she said.

Other major initiatives over the past seven years in Grandview have included creating a math pathway for students at the elementary school level, aligning the curriculum across grades and subjects to better meet student academic needs and increasing the rigor of courses in the high school so more students could take Advanced Placement and college-credit courses, she said.

"Our focus has been on the whole child," to meet the social, emotional and academic needs of each student, Lusher said.

Lusher will be missed, Culp said.

"She's had a tremendous impact on our district the past seven years," he said. "She's been instrumental in helping us bring about real change for our students and their learning opportunities."

The initiatives that Lusher helped lead included "kicking down the doors of access to AP courses for students, reworking our math trajectory for students, creating a more complete literacy program for K-5 and creating opportunities for our eighth-graders to take physical science," Culp said.

"I will dearly miss having her here as a colleague and as a friend," he said. "I know she will have the same positive impact for South-Western schools."

"There have been some tears shed" in making the decision to leave her post in Grandview, Lusher said.

But for Lusher and her family, "it's not really goodbye," she said.

The family is moving from Powell to Grandview, and Lusher's three children will attend Grandview schools in August. The move was planned before the South-Western opportunity arose.

"So it's just going to be a different role for me, as a parent and as a supportive community member," she said. "This district means so much to me. I want my children to go to school here."

The district posted the open position of assistant superintendent/chief academic officer June 4, and applications are due by noon June 17, Culp said.

An initial paper screening will create a roster of five to 10 first-round candidates, and after the initial interviews, the list will be shortened to two or three finalists, who will be interviewed by a group consisting of teachers, PTO members, school board members and administrators, he said.

"Our goal is to bring a recommendation to the board before July 10," Culp said.

The board is not scheduled to meet in July, so a special board meeting will be called in early July to consider the recommendation for Lusher's replacement, he said.