The Oregon school board on Thursday approved a four year contract with Dr. Lonny J. Rivera to be the district’s new superintendent.
Rivera, of Brown Road, has been principal of Wayne Trail Intermediate in the Maumee City Schools District since August, 2011.
The board set his annual salary at $119,000.
Rivera is replacing Dr. Mike Zalar, who resigned to take the superintendent position in the North Olmsted City Schools District in North Olmsted Ohio.
Rivera has bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in education from the University of Toledo.
“It’s such a great honor,” Rivera told The Press after the meeting. “I love to help people. I can see no better way to come back and make a difference in Oregon.”
Rivera grew up in Bono in Jerusalem Township and is a lifelong resident of the Oregon area.
“Kids have always been my heart and I have an opportunity to do some great things here,” he said.
The most pressing issues, he said, facing the district: enacting major legislative changes and financing.
“We have new testing, new standards, and a new evaluation system that is bogging down administrative systems. And of course, the district has money issues. I trust in the community, when we ask for money, that they will know we will use it wisely and provide opportunities for kids,” he said.
Board member Jeff Ziviski said Rivera “brings a passion for education to the district – a new enthusiasm.”
“The employees of the district have always been excited about educating our children, but Lonny brings some new energy,” said Ziviski. “I think you are going to see some changes in the way he leads our district compared to our previous superintendents. I know he is going to be able to bring some fresh ideas that will build community support and create the `family feeling’ amongst the community - something that is sorely needed. Also, Lonny is a teacher by nature, so I expect him to be in the buildings with the children and teachers. He will have a sense of the atmosphere and have a better grasp of what is happening in our buildings.”
Ziviski said there were some in the community who thought the superintendent should be from outside the district so it would be easier to make changes.
“He is genuine and straightforward, he is not afraid to tell you the truth,” said Ziviski. “Once people get to know him and he builds that trust, then the district will really be able to move forward. He is a likeable guy, extremely approachable, honest, trustworthy, and his heart is in the right place - he has integrity and wants to do the right things for the children of our district. We are lucky to be able to get him to be our new leader.”
Rivera and his wife Tammy have three children: Jared, 13; Alec, 10; and Gabrielle, 6.