Smathers to lead GMHS; plus other Groveport Madison news

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Smathers to lead GMHS
Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Garilee Ogden announced the selection Paul Smathers to serve as the principal of Groveport Madison High School.

Smathers has nearly 15 years of experience as a principal and five years as an assistant principal. He began his career in Groveport Madison Schools in 2019 as the director of safety and community relations. He has been serving as the interim principal at the high school since September 2020.

“I have known Paul for 13 years and have always been impressed with his unwavering commitment to his students’ academic needs, social-emotional development, and their overall health and well-being,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent Garilee Ogden. “He is equally committed to his staff. He creates an environment focused on collaboration and personal accountability and helps staff members seek creative solutions to address complex situations. Paul’s focus, determination, and overtly-welcoming nature blend perfectly to create the right environment for high school students to grow and thrive.”

Smathers holds a bachelor’s degree in education from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in education from the University of Dayton.

“I am deeply honored and excited to continue to lead and serve the students and staff of Groveport Madison High School,” said Smathers. “I will continue to work with our students, parents, teachers, staff, and community members to build on the great foundation and traditions in place at GMHS. Preparing students with the knowledge and skills they need to compete in our world following graduation, promoting personal responsibility, and supporting students’ social-emotional development will always be among my top priorities.”

GM Schools get Breakfast and Beyond award
The Groveport Madison School District was recognized by the Ohio School Breakfast Challenge as a 2021 Super Star Award winner for its approach to maximize participation in meal programs, ensuring all students have access to school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In March 2020, Governor Mike DeWine closed all Ohio schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Groveport Madison transitioned to virtual instruction for students’ academic needs, but realized families could not access district-provided breakfasts and lunches for their children with schools closed. The district’s food services department developed a plan for distributing Grab & Go meals at seven schools and eight community-based locations, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday. Later it offered evening meal service from 4-5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

In June 2020, the district teamed up with Groveport Madison Human Needs to continue Grab & Go meal service throughout the summer. As a result of these efforts, participation increased by 360 meals per day over last year’s participation rates.

“We are extremely honored to be recognized for what we truly considered was ‘just doing the right thing,” said Groveport Madison Superintendent Garilee Ogden. “With many families in our school district qualifying for free or reduced-price meals, we knew that many children would go hungry if we didn’t help them. I commend our food services director, Dan Magee, our food services staff, Petermann Transportation, and Groveport Madison Human Needs for working together to address this dire need. They are truly deserving of this honor.”

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