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Lakota Schools picks new interim superintendent

Lakota Local School District
Elizabeth Lolli

Former Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli has been named the new interim superintendent of Lakota Local Schools.

In January, Lolli announced she would be stepping down as Dayton's superintendent, but a few months later her contract was extended by the school board for another year while it looked for a replacement. She will now leave the position to take over Lakota Schools for the 2023-2024 school year.

Lakota Schools has been searching for a new long-term leader since the beginning of the year after former superintendent Matt Miller resigned from the top spot, claiming he was being harassed by board member Darbi Boddy and the rest of the school board wasn't doing enough to protect him.

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Last month, Lakota's board narrowed its list of potential superintendents down to three candidates: Michael Acomb from Solon City Schools near Cleveland, Todd Petrey from Mason City Schools, and Ashley Whitely from Wyoming Schools. The district expected to hire one of three by the end of June but after a final round of interviews and a Q&A session with members of the school community, the board decided to move in a different direction and continue its search.

Lakota School Board President Lynda O'Connor wrote in a press release announcing the new hire that Lolli's experience was what the district needs right now.

"Dr. Lolli has proven herself to be an effective instructional leader and communicator in the diverse communities she has served," O'Connor said. "She also takes pride in being a visible leader and proponent of student voice. We are very pleased to have her at the helm this year."

Lolli was named the "2023 Superintendent of the Year" by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, becoming the first Dayton City Schools leader to hold the honor in over three decades.

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She will take the reins of the school district from current Interim Superintendent Robb Vogelmann July 19. Vogelmann will return to his position as assistant superintendent.

Members of the community will have opportunities to meet Lolli and learn more about her background in the coming weeks. The board says it is now in the process of restarting its search for a new long-term superintendent.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.