London Schools chooses one of its own as elementary principal

Heather Mills is the new principal at London Elementary.

(Posted June 29, 2021)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

From a field of 16 candidates, London City Schools chose an internal candidate to fill the role of elementary school principal.

Heather Mills, a third-grade teacher, will take the helm effective Aug. 1. She replaces John Riley who served as principal for three years. Riley has accepted a job as an elementary school principal at Hilliard City Schools. Roy Ohr remains as London Elementary’s assistant principal.

“Over the last three years, Mr. Riley and Mr. Ohr have worked hard to build a positive climate with students, parents, and staff. Heather has been a part of that process as a teacher,” said Dr. Lou Kramer, London City Schools superintendent. “She can walk into that role (of principal) understanding where the school is and pick up where Mr. Riley left off.”

Mills joined the London staff in 2014 and has taught kindergarten, first grade, and third grade. She served as the third-grade teacher leader on the building leadership team, and she is heading up the elementary school’s summer school program.

Prior to her time at London, Mills was an elementary school teacher at Imagine Great Western Academy in Columbus. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio Northern University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Ohio Dominican University.

Eliminating student fees
On June 22, the school board approved the elimination of student fees at the elementary and middle schools for next school year as a way to cut the cost burden on parents. The fees usually run between $15 and $25 per student per year.

“This decision follows our philosophy from a district standpoint that we want to provide the best experience for families,” Kramer said. “We’re constantly looking at what programs are beneficial to families or ways we can improve what we call the user experience. We felt like this was an area in which we could do that.”

The high school student fees and pay-to-participate fees remain in place for the 2021-22 school year.

Food service contract
The district continues to iron out details on a contract with Chartwells, a division of Compass Group USA, for management of the district’s food service. The district is moving from an in-house operation to outside management.

The proposed contract–a one-year arrangement renewable up to three times–will be back on the agenda at the school board’s meeting on July 13. The proposed contract guarantees the district will reap at least $41,000 in food service revenues next school year.

“Those are revenues that, prior to the pandemic, we weren’t able to do on our own,” Kramer said.

As part of the transition, the board approved the elimination of its food service director position. The person who formerly held that position has chosen to take a position outside the district, Kramer said. The district’s remaining food service employees retained their jobs. If positions come open, Chartwells will fill those spots, per the proposed contract.

Courtyard project
The board approved donations from Scotts Miracle-Gro for a courtyard renovation project at the elementary school. The district has teamed up with the Madison County Master Gardeners who, starting July 12, will work with summer school students to enhance the courtyard with new vegetation. The collaboration aligns with the district’s project-based learning approach. Scotts donated $250 for supplies and $250 in coupons for products at the Scotts Store.

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