By Jeff Gallatin
North Olmsted school officials have an agreement in principle with a veteran Ohio school superintendent to take over as head of the district within the next two months.
Michael Zalar, currently superintendent of the Oregon (Ohio) City Schools, is expected to be formally approved by the school board sometime this month. He was one of three finalists for the position, along with Patrick Colucci Sr., superintendent of the Ashtabula Area City Schools, and Paul Lombardo, principal of Willoughby South High School.
Members of the North Olmsted school board met in executive session again Monday night to discuss the matter. The board has held several executive sessions to discuss matters pertaining to the search for a permanent superintendent throughout the several-month search. The board’s regular board meeting is scheduled for tonight, where the matter could be discussed again if need be.
John Lasko, president of the North Olmsted Board of Education, said Tuesday a formal decision and announcement is near, but declined to name a specific person.
“We have an agreement in principle with someone to be the next superintendent,” he said. “We’re in the process of dotting all our i’s and crossing our t’s on the contract and making sure everything is order. Once we have all that taken care of, there will be a meeting and announcement where we will have more details on all of this.”
Lasko said the formal announcement could take a place anywhere from as soon as tonight’s meeting, to one next week or later in the month, depending on when contract details are finalized. He said he is satisfied as to how the process has proceeded.
“We’re on track with where we wanted to be in the process,” he said. “We indicated that we wanted to be able to name a new superintendent at a meeting during May, and I expect that we will able to do that.”
Zalar is expected to take the permanent position sometime after the current school year ends in June. It became open when Cheryl Dubsky retired in August 2012. Former Berea superintendent and public television education official Terry Krivak has been serving as interim superintendent.
All three finalists went through different interviews for the job, including a May 2 round-robin session where they were questioned by three different groups at different times, during the evening. The groups included the school board, district principals and administrators, teachers and union representatives. The school board held an executive session for its interview and to later discuss the candidates. Other news media and officials have indicated Colucci told Ashtabula officials last week he was not leaving that district, which he became superintendent of a few months ago.
Zalar has been superintendent of the Oregon City Schools (located east of Toledo) since 2008. Prior to that he was principal at Clay High School from August 2002 until he became superintendent. He also was principal at Patrick Henry High School in Hamler, Ohio, from 1999-2002. Some of his other experience includes being an occupational work experience coordinator in Perrysburg and North Baltimore, Ohio. He also was a geography and world studies teacher in Cincinnati.