Dayton Public School board still can’t get over themselves: David Lawrence new Interim Superintendent

With a district 200 teachers short, and the deadline for teachers to go under contract expiring yesterday (July 10, is the commitment day), 2 board members seemed to think it wasn’t important to get a leader in charge of the District ASAP.

Chrisondra Goodwine, the “Board President” let the VP, Will Smith do the introduction and vote and claimed she was ill, as she abstained from voting on appointing Dr. David Lawrence as the new “Interim Superintendent” at a review session after coming out of executive session. Dr. Gabriella Pickett voted a hard no, telling everyone that they didn’t have time to review the people who had applied after someone posted a sort of job application with an IMPOSSIBLE timeline for the district to follow. Pickett should have her PhD revoked for what can only be called a “bitch move” on the street. The district had left itself no other choice after their incompetent handling of Lolli for the last 6 years.

Lolli showed her true colors when resigning when she did. Her extension was the fault of Goodwine, Pickett, Lacey and Jocelyn Rhynard (who was taking an excused absence for tonight’s meeting).

This means the 3 member coalition of Smith, Deon Sampson and Karen Wick Gagnet who couldn’t swing a 4th vote last time, are now depending on Joe Lacey as their swing vote- and old Joe can’t be counted on. He was responsible for not letting Lawrence into the finals 6 years ago- and hiring the trainwreck of a superintendent, Rhonda Corr then. That he was ever let back on the board by voters is an indication of how low the bar is to be a board member.

Hiring Lawrence, despite his outstanding qualifications, as an “interim” is insulting, and will probably lead to more game playing and power struggles by this dysfunctional board. It’s also highly insulting to the community, which produced him. This isn’t some shyster from a national search, this is a home grown talent that’s more qualified than the last 3 superintendents combined.

Readers of this blog know he’s been my choice for a long time (see at least 77 posts about him). Full disclosure, he’s also a friend for over 25 years.

While some will talk about how the district paid him off to go away when Rhonda Corr felt threatened by him (she later confided to me that she listened to the wrong people) the reality is, this district has been an absolute shit show for decades. How much worse could he possibly make it than what Libby Lolli did- with her incredible incompetence over the years that caused mass resignations and ridiculous strife among the ranks. Dayton Education Association chief Neil Mahoney believes that within 6 months the cultural change under Lawrence within the district will make it clear that the board finally made the right decision. He won’t miss Lolli at all, for a lot of reasons, none of which matter at this point.

It was painful to watch the board meeting before the executive session as well. Board Members Sampson and Smith were both asking about very expensive contracts that they were voting on for “teaching software” that could be redirected to actually paying real teachers instead. They were wondering if they were buying 3 years of a software that Lolli picked- and that a new superintendent wouldn’t. Good questions- but, way too late.

There are lots of questions still to answer about if Lolli wasn’t escaping another bombshell about her incompetence. The last few districts she left, there were clouds over her departure. People are still wondering why the Welcome Stadium contract went from $11M to $44M under her, to Shook Construction- the same company building the new schools in Fairborn under her husband Gene Lolli’s direction. Then there are the coming State testing scores- which are predicted to be unspinnable disasters. Not that Lolli ever had anything to crow about with her test scores- and anyone who was delivering any kind of improvements, left or wasn’t recognized for their success.

In his remarks to the press after the announcement, Lawrence said things won’t change overnight, but, that everything he has done successfully depended on the team he brings together to get things done. Lucky for us, he doesn’t need a GPS to find the buildings, or name tags to identify the staff.

There is still time to run for school board this fall. Petitions aren’t due until early August, and the seats up for re-election belong to Pickett, Sampson and Smith. There is a good chance that Pickett won’t run again. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with Goodwine and Lacey for at least 2 more years.

In the meantime, things have never looked better for DPS. Or worse. Only with your support will Lawrence have a chance to work his magic. Please, welcome him to his new job- send him words of encouragement- and invite him to your neighborhood organization, business group, association, and let’s turn things around finally. [email protected]

If you enjoyed reading true breaking news, instead of broken news from the major media in Dayton, make sure you subscribe to this site for an email every time I post. If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps! Please also subscribe to the Youtube channel for notifications of every video we launch – including the livestreams.