DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Lori L. Ward is speaking after she and the district have decided to part ways.
“I am here on a Thursday, talking about Lori Ward. And this week we started state testing. That’s the real news,” said Ward.
The board announced the change Wednesday. Ward said it was a mutual decision, and there’s no bad blood.
“This is an extremely tough time to find the words,” stated Ward.
For the last six years, Ward led the district through big changes.
“All the way from Race to the Top, to school improvement grants, to the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System,” said Ward.
Under her leadership, DPS graduation rates increased from 59 to 71 percent. The district has also survived three years in a row of 150 teachers leaving after the state made changes to its retirement system. It’s also opened an early learning center devoted to preschool education.
“I’m most proud we’re on the right path,” beamed Ward. “Today I visited a school. And when a child looks at me and says ‘There’s the superintendent; ‘can I have a hug?’ I’m proud of the relationships I’ve built.”
She said there’s still more work that needs to be done.
“With or without parents we have to get it done,” said Ward.
She has advice for her successor.
“Develop deep community relationships. Get to know students. Get to know staff,” advised Ward. “Establish best practices, accountability, and get the job done.”
Ward’s last day is June 30. She said she still wants to stay in education because that is her passion.