Dayton Public Schools names interim Lawrence as new superintendent

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Dayton Public Schools has named the current interim superintendent, David Lawrence, as the permanent superintendent for the district Tuesday evening in a unanimous vote.

Lawrence was the business manager last school year before former superintendent Elizabeth Lolli abruptly left in July. The board named him interim superintendent at a board meeting in July. Since then, he has hired back many former district employees and focused on changing the culture of the district.

He graduated from Paul Lawrence Dunbar in 1984 and taught at several DPS schools during his career, where he was a principal and previously served as the chief of school innovation for DPS. While he was chief of schools, he led the district to get an A grade in value-added, one of the ways the state previously scored state report cards. He also was the chief academic officer for the Dayton Regional STEM school, where he led the district to a top 20 spot for academic performance in Ohio.

“On top of the dedication that I believe he will bring to this position, I must say that it is exciting to have a DPS graduate now serving in the role of superintendent,” said Board of Education President Will Smith. “After a very thorough selection process, I am convinced that Dr. Lawrence is the right person for the job, and I am looking forward to seeing continued improvement under his leadership. I understand that there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and our new superintendent has the ability to head the team effort that it will require. As board president, I will be working closely with Dr. Lawrence to work on the creative solutions needed to attain the improved outcomes we all wish to see.”

This school year, the district has seen an increase in third grade reading test scores compared to last year and a decrease in chronic absenteeism. He has created more opportunities for families to interact with him at town halls.

“I am honored that the Dayton Board of Education has selected me for the position of superintendent,” said Lawrence. “I am looking forward to continuing the work that is already underway to improve culture, climate and academic performance. Through this work, I am confident that we will see greater academic achievement and a more positive educational experience for all students. Dayton Public Schools has a proud history, and I want to restore that pride within the community. We deserve to win.”

Lawrence earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati in finance, along with two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from Antioch University Graduate School of Leadership & Change. His master’s degrees are in Educational Leadership and Educational Philosophy, and his Ph.D. is in Leadership and Change.

Two other candidates were finalists for the role, Alesia Smith, chief of schools for Cincinnati Public Schools and H. Allen Smith II, school system leader from Mansfield, Texas (outside Dallas).

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