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Published: Tuesday, 5/13/2008

St. Francis picks former teacher as new principal

BY ANGIE SCHMITT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Smola Smola
HANDOUT NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Former St. Francis de Sales teacher Eric Smola has been named principal of the all-male private high school.

Mr. Smola, 36, a native of Fremont, taught social studies at St. Francis from 1996 to 2004, while serving as a wrestling coach. He left the school in 2004 to become principal of Rosary Cathedral School (kindergarten through eighth grade) in Toledo.

The board of trustees at St. Francis nominated Mr. Smola for the position April 30, following a search that included more than 20 candidates, said the Rev. Ronald Olszewski, president of the school.

Mr. Smola's appointment is effective July 1. He will lead a staff of almost 60 and a student body of about 600.

Father Olszewski said school officials appreciated Mr. Smola's experience in an administrative role, as well as his background at an all-male school.

"He was always a very good teacher and he was well-respected," he said. "He's always loved our school. I think he'll be very good."

Head football coach Richard Cromwell had been serving as the school's interim principal since June. Mr. Cromwell assumed the role when former principal Andrew Hill left for a similar job at Crestwood Middle School, near Cleveland.

Mr. Cromwell will return to coaching and serving as athletic director, Father Olszewski said.

Mr. Smola said he hopes to boost enrollment and uphold the school's reputation for academic excellence.

"It's an honor to be selected as the next principal and educational leader at such a fine institution," he said. "Once a Knight, always a Knight."

Mr. Smola received his master's degree in education and undergraduate degrees from the University of Toledo. He and his wife, Michele, reside in Toledo's Westmoreland neighborhood, with their daughters Kate, 2, and Ella, 1. The family attends Gesu Catholic Church.



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