Oregon school board president P.J. Kapfhammer introduced the district’s new superintendent Dr. Lonny J. Rivera to city council on Monday, saying “He’s the guy for us.”
The school board recently approved a four year contract with Rivera to be the district’s new superintendent.
Rivera grew up in Bono in Jerusalem Township and is a lifelong resident of the Oregon area.
“We went through a process to get to the point where we are now with our superintendent,” Kapfhammer said to council. “We’re very excited. I think there’s a new feeling in the schools. It feels great that we have one of our own. Throughout this process, hands down, he’s the guy for us.”
Rivera, who was principal of Wayne Trail Intermediate in the Maumee City Schools District before getting the superintendent’s position, said he was pleased to be back in Oregon.
“This is such a wonderful opportunity for me to come home. I’ve been on a pilgrimage for the last five years out and about, helping other communities become great. And I wanted to come home and do that here,” said Rivera. “There’s much I still have to learn. But I’ve learned a ton in some of the other communities where I’ve had a chance to work in.”
Rivera said his focus will always be on the kids.
“My heart has always been for the kids, anywhere, but primarily here in this district. My own children attend here. Many of you I’ve known, since a child. Others have worked for me. So there’s nothing but good positives that I see here,” he said.
He also noted how the district and local government work together.
“If our schools are excellent, a place where kids want to come, and where parents feel safe sending their kids, I know that’s going to help our community as well. So I know we’re tied in. I’m looking forward to having a partnership of any sort and to see how it can grow and mature.”
Rivera said he had “no hidden agendas.”
“I’m not looking to run for any other office. I want to make my school district here as good as it possibly can be. If people like to dream big and think outside the box, I ask you to do the same with me and know that my heart will always be for the kids. That will be the hill that I will die on – if I have to die on a hill. It’s for the kids. So just understand that’s where my point of view is from,” he said.
“I think Oregon is starting to take off,” he continued. “I’m seeing things happening. We’re seeing buildings start to be built. Some restaurants are here for us. As I move in across the way on August 1, please, if you have ideas, concerns, whatever, please let me know. I want to address those concerns and make our district something to be proud of.”
Councilman Dennis Walendzak welcomed Rivera to his new position.
“I think the community, as Mr. Kapfhammer said, really hit a home run on having you come home. We’ve known each other for a long time,” said Walendzak. “You’re an honest man. I think you’re going to do a great job for our community – not just the schools. And I look forward to working with you.”
Council President Tom Susor said “mutual collaboration on every aspect is certainly where we need to be.”
“We extend a hand, and we can work together to be great for our citizens,” said Susor.
Rivera is replacing Dr. Mike Zalar, who resigned to take the superintendent position in the North Olmsted City Schools District in North Olmsted Ohio.