By Jeff Gallatin
School leaders have made it official. Michael Zalar will be the new superintendent of the North Olmsted School District starting in July, and both he and the school board are looking forward to it.
Board members unanimously approved a three-year contract for Zalar at a special meeting May 22. Zalar has been superintendent of the Oregon (Ohio) school district since 2008. He also has been a principal, occupational work experience coordinator and teacher. Earlier this year he received the Ohio School Board Association’s Outstanding Leadership Award for Northwest Ohio.
After board members formally approved his hiring, Zalar said he is pleased to be coming to North Olmsted.
“This is an outstanding district, and I feel really humbled and honored to be able to come in and be a part of a district like this,” he said. “The accomplishments and achievements that this district has endeavored to (accomplish at) this point have not happened by accident. They did not happen overnight. They happened as a culmination of a great many people working together as a team.”
Zalar will become the district’s first permanent superintendent since Cheryl Dubsky retired at the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Terry Krivak has been the interim superintendent for the 2012-2013 school year.
Zalar said he intends to build on and continue the district’s strong academic legacy, while noting its seven consecutive years of being ranked “Excellent” or “Excellent With Distinction” in the annual state report card rankings.
“My goal and desire is to continue to look for areas where we can get better and continue that journey to excellence,” he said, adding that the strong community support evident in North Olmsted has also played a role in the strong educational performance of the district.
Zalar said last year he began putting out feelers to see what other opportunities might be available to further his career in education. He said until the North Olmsted position came open, he had been uncertain as to what direction to pursue. However, after seeing the North Olmsted job, he felt it would be a good fit and that his experiences would help the district as well.
Zalar has studied educational systems throughout the world, including traveling to Asia, Africa, China and Europe.
School board members also lauded his wide range of experience, with board President John Lasko noting his experience with many facility-related issues. The district has been studying how to improve its facilities and has approved a better energy use program and demolition work around the middle school designed to better improve the vehicle traffic flow at the beginning and end of the school day. The district also is trying a new traffic pattern around North Olmsted High School as well.
Lasko and other board members all indicated they hope Zalar is here well beyond the first three-year contract.