State school group picks DPS’ Lolli as Ohio Superintendent of the Year

The Buckeye Association of School Administrators honored the Dayton school district leader

The Buckeye Association of School Administrators has named the Dayton Public Schools superintendent its 2023 Ohio Superintendent of the Year.

Elizabeth Lolli will be presented with this award during the Nov. 8 DPS school board review session, and she also will be honored during the BASA fall conference in October 2023, according to the district’s Monday announcement.

“I am very honored to be selected as the Ohio Superintendent of the Year,” Lolli said. “I am also appreciative that the efforts of the Dayton Public School District are being recognized at this level. All successful leaders are supported by high-quality team members. The entire DPS team has a part in this award. We will continue the work for all Dayton students. For me, this work is a mission — not a job.”

Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

The last DPS superintendent to receive this award was Franklin Smith in 1989, according to BASA.

Superintendents must be nominated for this award and are then judged on several criteria, including meeting the needs of students in the school system; personal and organizational communication; improvement of their administrative knowledge and skills; participation in their community; and understanding of regional and national issues.

For many years, both before and during Lolli’s time here, the Dayton school district has ranked near the very bottom of Ohio’s 600-plus school districts in pure academic achievement on state tests. DPS scores sank during the COVID pandemic, but bounced back in 2021-22, with the district earning 2 stars out of 5 on student progress.

A district statement said Lolli has worked to improve the educational experience of DPS students throughout her time as superintendent. DPS identified the following changes:

  • Increasing the number of neighborhood school centers from five to 10;
  • Opening the district’s first school-based health center at Roosevelt Elementary;
  • Increasing the number of career-technical pathways from 13 to 24;
  • Reinstating band and choir programs;
  • Developing and implementing a double teaching model in all first-to-third grade classrooms, increasing student achievement and closing gaps, with student growth, in many cases, surpassing national norms.

Lolli has served as DPS superintendent since March 2018. Prior to that, she served as the district’s interim superintendent and associate superintendent.

Throughout her career, she has served as a classroom teacher, music teacher, assistant principal, principal, curriculum director and superintendent in two other districts. She also worked as a full-time professor and adjunct professor at Kent State University. She is a published author of one book and multiple articles in educational journals.

About the Author