Upper left: Huber Ridge Elementary School Principal Tyson Hilkert. Upper right: Genoa Middle School Principal Michael Hinze. Lower left: Heritage Middle School Principal Dr. Dru Tomlin. Lower right: Westerville Central High School Principal Tom Lanier, pictured with School Resource Officer Joe Graham and Genoa Township Police Lieutenant Rich Lyon.
Children are not the only ones who might have experienced a few butterflies yesterday, the first day of school. Four new principals have been hired by the Westerville City School District to lead students and staff in the pursuit of educational excellence – Tyson Hilkert, Huber Ridge Elementary School; Michael Hinze, Genoa Middle School; Dr. Dru Tomlin, Heritage Middle School; and Tom Lanier, Westerville Central High School.
Hilkert has worked for Westerville City Schools since 2011 and before that, he was a teacher in Maysville City Schools. He served as the assistant principal at Huber Ridge since the summer of 2015. Prior to entering school administration in Westerville, Hilkert was an intervention specialist at Pointview Elementary School and Heritage Middle School. He was born and raised in West Unity, Ohio, and graduated from Hilltop High School; received an undergraduate degree from Bluffton University; and a master’s degree in school administration from Concordia University of Chicago.
Hinze began his career as a Social Studies teacher with Upper Arlington City Schools before becoming Assistant Principal at Watkins Middle School in 2012. He joined the Westerville City School District in 2013 as assistant principal of Westerville South High School. He holds a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Antioch College.
Tomlin, principal of Heritage Middle School, has been working passionately in the field of education for more than 22 years. He began his career as a high school English teacher in Virginia in 1994, and then worked as a middle school English/Reading/Social Studies teacher and administrator and elementary school administrator in Georgia until 2012, after which he became a Director with the Association for Middle Level Education, an education non-profit dedicated to improving middle schools around the world. He holds a Ph.D. in teaching and learning and a M.S. in educational leadership from Georgia State University and a B.A. in English/Secondary Education from James Madison University. He is also a proud parent of two boys who attend Westerville City Schools.
The 2017-18 school year marks the beginning of Tom Lanier’s 26th year in education. His started his career as a social studies teacher at Reynoldsburg High School in 1992, where he taught for 17 years. For the next two years, he served as assistant principal at Reynoldsburg High. In 2011, he accepted the position of lead assistant principal at Pickerington High School North, where he worked for six years. Lanier is originally from Westerville and he graduated from Westerville South High School in 1985. Lanier and his wife, Ann, reside in Pickerington with their four sons – Sean, Brian, Matthew and Kevin. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and accounting from Capital University, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Dayton. He obtained his teaching credentials through Ohio Dominican College (now University).