Dayton Public Schools Acting Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli, a 40-year educator who has been a superintendent twice before, says Dayton has already been moving in the right direction academically in the past year.
Lolli was named acting superintendent by the school board Tuesday night after Rhonda Corr was placed on administrative leave by the board. District officials said a pre-disciplinary notice will be issued against Corr this week that will list the reasons for the move.
Corr recommended Lolli’s hire as Dayton’s associate superintendent for teaching and learning in August 2016, less than two months after Corr started here. In that role, Lolli has had a hand in numerous changes.
She was involved in attempts to bolster the district’s summer school program and to adjust DPS’ preschool structure to work with the Preschool Promise group. Lolli also helped to implement the district’s new teacher-leader program, and she said Dayton had a real need to modernize its teaching practices.
“We were so focused on intervention as opposed to strong core instruction,” Lolli said. “That instruction is a must, and then if you see that children don’t understand that core instruction, then you move to intervention. But Dayton was doing the opposite – they were focused on intervention, with very little core instruction was taking place. We have flipped that in the year I’ve been there.”
Lolli came to Dayton from Middletown City Schools, where she was director of curriculum and instruction. Prior to that, she served as superintendent of Monroe Local Schools in Butler County from 2008-12 and Barberton City Schools near Akron from 2003-07.
Lolli worked in Middletown schools from 1978 to 1994, where she was a teacher, assistant principal, and coordinator of elementary education. She has also worked as curriculum director for both Mayfield and Nordonia Hills schools in northern Ohio.
“I feel privileged to be able to serve Dayton City Schools and their families, the students, the staff,” Lolli said last week. “I also hope to bring some commitment and focus to the work that’s been started by our staff, so that we can stabilize our situation and move forward and progress because Dayton is the school of choice in the region.”
Lolli said Dayton is now implementing research-based approaches that other schools use in student technology, STEM, and the teaching techniques of gradual release and student modeling.
“We revised or created courses of study for all required classes, created a program of studies to guide high school courses offered, implemented seven new career-tech pathways in the high schools and implemented a focus on early literacy with phonics teachers,” Lolli said.
Lolli obtained her bachelor’s degree from Miami University in 1977, her master’s degree in educational administration from Xavier University and her doctorate in educational leadership from Miami in 1994, according to her LinkedIn page.
Asked about details of the allegations against Corr and whether they affected the district as a whole, Lolli tried to reassure DPS families.
“As far as I understand, this situation does not directly affect students, the staff, their learning, the teaching that’s going on,” Lolli said. “The budget is secure, and the curriculum and instruction process are secure. I can assure parents of those two things.”