Jun 2, 2017

Meet Superintendent Chris Briggs: ‘Kids Come First’

Photograph of Pickerington's new Superintendent Chris Briggs

It has been a few years since Chris Briggs has taught in a classroom, but he has never forgotten the most important thing about education: Kids come first.

“Every decision I have ever made in a leadership role in the schools has been based on, ‘How will this impact students?’” said Dr. Briggs, who will begin work as Pickerington Schools’ new superintendent July 10. “We should always be focused on making positive things happen for our kids instead of building roadblocks or closing doors.”

Briggs, who currently serves as superintendent in Licking County’s Northridge Local School District, said achieving great things for students demands a positive attitude.

“I believe you choose your attitude when you come to work, and that having a positive attitude is critical in making our students feel present,” he said. “It all goes back to how we treat people, whether they are students, staff, parents, or community members.”

Briggs said he is a firm believer in the “FISH” philosophy of leadership (http://www.fishphilosophy.com/leaders/), which places a heavy emphasis on building relationships as the foundation for success. That approach will play a significant role in his introduction to the community.

“My big thing is relationships with people, so the first thing I want to do coming here is to really get to know the community and staff,” Briggs said. “No matter what job you do in the business world or in education and teaching, if you don’t build relationships, you won’t go anywhere.”

Briggs said he will be spending a lot of his first days on the job listening and finding the best ways to communicate with the community and internal stakeholders.

“The other thing I’ve spoken about with the board of education is communication, and how we reach out to our community,” Briggs said. “And, of course, student achievement must be a priority for Pickerington, as it is for every school district. That has to be our main driving force – the most important thing we do. We have to improve our English learning assessment scores, because that foundation of literacy is key to improving everything else.”

He said the board also spoke about the need to have someone who understands contract negotiations. The district has two bargaining units, and negotiations with the teacher’s union will happen in 2018.

Briggs said he is excited about coming to Pickerington, and has already started looking for a house in the community. He plans to make his “relationship” with Pickerington a long one.

“I truly enjoy where I am now, but Pickerington Schools has a great reputation, and this community should know that I am ‘all in,’“ he said. “Pickerington is a place for me to come and live professionally and personally, to put my roots down and hopefully have a positive impact on the schools and the community. I can’t wait to get started.”

About Dr. Chris Briggs

Briggs has one son, Mitchell, 16, and a daughter, Madison, 14. Both attend New Albany Schools. His fiancée, Diana, works for the American Heart Association, where she teaches hands-only CPR in schools.

He describes himself as a “sports guy” who follows the Cleveland teams, and enjoys getting out to watch the school teams play.

Briggs has been superintendent in Northridge since 2013. Prior to that, he was regional executive director for Columbus City Schools from 2011-13, principal at New Albany Intermediate School from 2003-11, and principal at Hamilton Township High School from 2001-03.

He worked for nearly a decade in South-Western City Schools as an assistant principal, athletic director, and intervention specialist.

He received his doctor of education in organizational leadership from Nova Southeastern University, his master’s degree in educational policy and leadership – educational administration from The Ohio State University, and his bachelor’s degree in elementary education and special education from Muskingum College.