DPS announces 3 superintendent finalists; forum today

Dayton’s school board chose two outsiders and one administrator who is fairly new to Dayton Public Schools as its three finalists to replace Lori Ward as DPS superintendent.

School board President Adil Baguirov on Friday morning identified the three finalists as Rhonda Corr, Gregory Roberson and Daniel Schroer. They are expected to speak and answer questions at an open community forum today from 5 to 7 p.m. at River’s Edge Montessori School, 108 Linwood St.

Roberson is the only one of the three who has worked in Dayton Public Schools. He arrived one year ago to lead the district’s Office for Exceptional Children, which oversees special education.

Roberson’s application shows that he served in the Air Force from 1981 to 2003 and was a senior master sergeant. He has a bachelor’s degree in criminology and a master’s in human relations.

He went into education in 2003, as an intervention specialist in the special education arena, eventually earning licensure to be a principal and superintendent while earning his doctorate in educational leadership.

He worked in special education and administrative roles with Mt. Healthy schools near Cincinnati for 11 years, eventually as executive director of student services. He left that spot last summer to join Dayton Public Schools.

Corr was an award-winning principal and administrator in Cleveland, but has had a tumultuous past two years. She became an area superintendent for Chicago Public Schools in 2013, joining fellow Cleveland schools alum Barbara Byrd-Bennett.

Byrd-Bennett resigned last year amid a federal investigation, then was convicted of wire fraud in a kickback scheme. Corr and several others who had been hired by Byrd-Bennett were laid off. In August, Parma schools near Cleveland voted to hire her as superintendent, but then rescinded the offer. Corr said Parma’s decision was made based on fears of lawsuits tied to the Chicago situation.

Corr ended up being hired 10 months ago as an academic improvement officer by Indianapolis Public Schools. Included in her application for the Dayton job is an undated letter of recommendation “for school district leadership opportunities” for Corr, from IPS superintendent Lewis Ferebee.

In her application, Corr addressed Byrd-Bennett’s kickback conviction, saying she “had absolutely nothing to do with it, but have suffered greatly from it. … It serves as a reminder to always act with integrity in everything you do at all times.”

Schroer has been superintendent of Margaretta schools, a small district near Toledo, for the past two years. Before that, he spent more than a decade leading career tech schools in southwest Ohio.

From 2002-2010, he worked at Butler Tech in Butler County, including time as vice president of secondary workforce education. From there he moved to the Greene County Career Center, where he was superintendent from 2010-14.

Schroer is the only finalist who has not worked directly for an urban public school district.

Candidates who were interviewed but not named finalists included DPS Chief of School Innovation David Lawrence, former Kettering Superintendent James Schoenlein and former DPS and Clark County ESC administrator Stacia Smith.

Two superintendent candidates withdrew their names this week — Trent Mosley of Cleveland schools, and Beavercreek Assistant Superintendent Susan Hayward, who took a superintendent position in the Toledo area.