DeMaria Named New State Superintendent

Paolo DeMaria shakes hands with OEA Vice President Scott DiMauro. [photo: Michelle Faust/ ideastream]
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by Michelle Faust

The Ohio Board of Education unanimously voted Wednesday to hire a new Superintendent of Public Education.

Paolo DeMaria says his first task as superintendent is to listen to parents, teachers, principals, and the many people working in education in the state.

He has plenty of questions of his own to start those conversations, “Where are those place of common ground? How do we bring people together? How do we then identify a strategic plan and a direction for where do we want to go? What’s the vision? What are the things we have to do to get there?”

DeMaria says one of his first goals is to strengthen the role of Ohio teachers and school leaders, like principals.

“Return to a time when teachers are respected and loved, and we value them for the great work that they do. And yet, embrace their commitments to continue to get better,” he says.

DeMaria has an extensive background in educational leadership and policy in Ohio, working most recently with the consulting agency Education First.

School Board President Tom Gunlock says any of the 7 finalists the board interviewed this week would have been a great superintendent, but DeMaria had the policy background they were looking for.

“His enthusiasm during the interview process was outstanding. He was very knowledgeable of education policy. He came across with the facts. And I think he just impressed everybody… obviously, because it was 19 to nothin’!” says Gunlock.

The Ohio Education Association released a statement congratulating DeMaria. The teacher’s union president, Becky Higgins, says she looks forward to working with him “for the benefit of all of Ohio’s students.”

Although an official start date has not been announced, DeMaria will begin the post before July 15th.

Watch a conversation about the hire on Ideas.

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