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Oregon picks Maumee principal for top job

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    Lonny Rivera reads the Cat in the Hat to first graders at Riverside Elementary

    The Blade/Andy Morrison
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Lonny Rivera reads the Cat in the Hat to first graders at Riverside Elementary

The Blade/Andy Morrison
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Oregon City Schools officials named an area principal as its superintendent Thursday.

The Board of Education voted 5-0 to hire Lonny Rivera, principal at Wayne Trail Elementary in Maumee, as its new leader after a brief executive session.

Mr. Rivera, 40, said he was thrilled to be chosen by the board.

He said his approach will be to “lead by example” and “help lift burdens” for others in the district.

He said he wanted to make the district a place where every employee is happy to show up for work.

“I'll give everything I have,” Mr. Rivera said. “My heart has always been for the kids.”

Board member Carol-Ann Molnar spoke to about 20 people in the audience about how she has known Mr. Rivera since he was a child.

She said he is well-liked in the community and has always had a caring attitude, what she called “a marshmallow heart.”

The position opened when Michael Zalar announced he is leaving effective Aug. 1 to become superintendent at North Olmstead City Schools in the Cleveland area. Mr. Zalar has been superintendent of the district for five years. He was principal at Clay High School, from 2002 to 2008.

Mr. Rivera, 40, has worked in school systems in Toledo, Oregon, and Maumee for 17 years. He grew up in Oregon and said he is very familiar with the school system.

As a 1991 graduate of Clay High School, he attended the University of Toledo on a full scholarship for wrestling, before transferring to Cleveland State University after Toledo ended its wrestling program.

Mr. Rivera has a master's degree in urban education and started his career as a special education teacher in 1996. Since then, he has held various positions, including as dean of students at Woodward High School in 1998, assistant principal of Sherman Elementary in 1999, and principal of Coy Elementary in 2003.

His four-year contract as superintendent starts Aug. 1. He will be paid an annual salary of $119,094.69.

The other candidate being considered for the position was Deborah Piotrowski, the superintendent of the Xenia Community Schools district in southwest Ohio. She was a finalist for the Rossford school district superintendent position in February and she was also a finalist for the same position in the Toledo Public Schools district in March.

Contact Kelly McLendon at: or 419-724-6522, or on Twitter @KMcBlade.

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