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The inevitable death of the Dayton Public Schools at the hands of Libby Lolli

A conversation between a Dayton Public Schools principal who is leaving and Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli, recounted third hand goes something like this:

Lolli- “are you leaving because of me?”

Principal- speechless.

And here you have the primary reason Lolli should never have been put in charge of a failing urban district. She thinks the superintendents position is about her.

It’s not.

It’s the reason she’s destroying the district faster than believable. Her constant moving of people and positions without any understanding of the importance of relationships and continuity have caused uncontrollable chaos in the district, with these two stories coming less than 2 weeks into the school year:

Dunbar football player head-butts ref

A Dunbar High School football players faces punishment after he assaulted a referee Saturday night during the team’s nonleague game at Welcome Stadium against Cincinnati’s Roger Bacon.

Dunbar was down 23-8 with seven minutes left in the first half against Roger Bacon when the player head-butted a referee after it looks like the player had been ejected from the game. The player was wearing a helmet when the assault happened.
Dunbar had been called for three unsportsmanlike penalties that night, prior to the assault.

Following the head-butt, the referees called the game and both team exited the field.

“The Dayton Public Schools are dealing with the student who chose to behave in a manner unbecoming of DPS athletes,” Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli said in a statement. “The Dayton Public School District extends a sincere apology to the referee involved in the incident, as well as the Roger Bacon and Dunbar athletes, referees, coaches parents and spectators who were not able to play in or watch the event.”

“Never seen anything like it in 35 years being around the game,” Roger Bacon defensive backs coach Tommy Watkins told WCPO Cincinnati.

Ben Ferree of the Ohio High School Athletic Association said the state organization will investigate the incident.

Asked about what punishment the Dunbar player faces, Ferree said in his seven years with OHSAA he could not remember an incident in which a player assaulted a referee.

“This is new to me,” Ferree said.

Source: Dunbar football player assaults referee – Dayton Daily News [1]

Chaos erupts at Thurgood Marshall after principal change

In two separate incidents last week, one Thurgood Marshall High School teacher was arrested on a complaint of assault against a student, and another teacher was injured while trying to break up an altercation.

On Wednesday, art teacher Yolanda Brown, 54, was arrested at the high school on a complaint of misdemeanor assault against a 14-year male, according to a Dayton Police Department report.

Dayton Public School Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli would not comment on the incident, saying it remains under investigation…

Romick confirmed he was aware of a separate incident Tuesday, in which a different teacher was injured while trying to break up an altercation involving students. He said that teacher has been given materials to apply for assault leave under terms of the union’s contract.

Lolli again would not comment other than to say the incident was under investigation, and that school officials do not believe the two incidents were connected.

Lolli would not say whether any students have been arrested or disciplined as a result of either incident, citing privacy laws…. Lolli dismissed any concern of a larger issue.

“There is no concern about the climate at Thurgood Marshall.

The students are in a safe and secure learning environment,” she said, adding, “School districts always analyze events to help evaluate processes. We are following the same procedures we normally follow.”

Source: One teacher arrested, one injured – Dayton Daily News [2]

Lolli’s focus on her version of transformation which includes strict sucking up to her and her belief that all that needs to change is students need to show up for school (now, we’ve moved from less than 10 missed days to less than 5) and the teachers all need to implement the “Marzano method” and this will magically solve all problems.

She has taken schools that were high performing (relative to DPS) and cut their hearts out by “promoting” their principals to new positions that have done nothing to move the needle on academic achievement. Most notably- removing former DPS Superstar Erin Dooley from her beloved and successful Stivers School for the Arts and put her over all high schools academic performance. She “promoted” Sharon Goins from Principal of Thurgood Marshall to some other position- and now TMHS is a trainwreck, one week into the year.

Other administrator moves, too many to even catalog, resulted in something like 75% of the district’s schools having new principals this year, the second year of Lolli’s three-year and out retirement package, offered by a board that ignored all of her previous failings in smaller, non-urban districts. Lolli has never completed a contract as superintendent for good reason, as we’re starting to see now.

The Dunbar football program was one of the best in the State for years under Dunbar AD Pete Pullen and the Powell Family of coaches. When former district AD LaMark Baker, who someone is still employed by the district (as a truancy officer), had a hair-brained idea to throw a game so two DPS teams could make the playoffs, she fired the wrong folks. The district is barely off probation for that major screw-up and now, this. Never mind the basketball coaches she replaced Coach Pullen with were one and done failures as well.

Now, OHSAA is once again looking at DPS and wondering who let these frauds run an athletic program. Unfortunately, only the kids will suffer.

The School Board has shown zero interest or capacity to admit that Lolli is an emperor with no clothes. Considering the previous board hired and fired the woman who hired Lolli (Rhonda Corr) and that since Lolli has been in charge the number of lawsuits, HR issues and discipline issues in the district has multiplied at an astronomical rate- you would think any thinking school board would put a stop to this nonsense sooner than later.

There is no question the district is headed for a breakdown, the only question at this time is who will be the next pinata for the dysfunctional district and when? Lolli desperately wants her three years at $200K a year to pad her retirement- and this board is happy to help. However, her risk of a mental breakdown increases as each school implodes.

My prediction for next emergency superintendent for DPS when Lolli can’t handle the heat of the kitchen- or three new board members this January, is that Belmont Principal Dr. Donetrus Hill gets a battlefield promotion. The only question is how fast he’s allowed to fire Dr. Sheila Burton who sits number two to the last three failed leaders in DPS HQ. Until she leaves, no real change will come.

Watch for more stories, even more outlandish than these two, in the coming weeks. It’s only going to get worse, because, well, Dr. Lolli, it all really is because of you.

Does anyone else wish that the School Board had hired internal candidate, local legend, David Lawrence instead of Corr now? This is the aftermath of what happens when you let a Russian trained troll on your school board and allow him to run the show, and fail to follow the law [3].

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Peter Newman

David: As always, your brutal honesty about what is really going on at DPS is welcomed.


John Moe

David , you have always known more about the inner workings of the city than anyone else .. For the sake of DAYTON STRONG , don’t stop being the leader .

Mr. Whitefolks

Burton is the problem. Lolli is a symptom.

Dave C

Don’t forget the DPS bus driver fondling himself while transporting elementary school students…….

A. Jackson

Agree with nearly all, except David Lawrence was not the answer. Also, Dunbar HS is now in incapable hands, an administrative disaster. Mark Baker’s vendetta against his alma mater was allowed to unfold and the Board was too blind to see it. Keeping him on board and not C. Phillip’s was unjust and unfair. Pete Pullen put DPS on the map. Without him, now look at the DPS athletic program. Adding a new district AD with no experience, wow! The Board needs a complete overhaul.

A. Jackson

D. Lawrence is not the solution; didn’t appear to be effective as a principal years ago. He left the district, then was brought back at top dollar. Why? Wipe the slate clean of ALL who were part of the old regime, including Board members. Do a national search for a good solid superintendent, and stop using old stale staff. BTW, the Board, Corr, and Lolli look pretty inept at letting go of Pete Pullen who was inducted in the OHSAA Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame this past spring. Who else in DPS can claim such an honorable title?

A. Jackson

It’s such a shame and disgrace when a school district superintendent interviews with news media and “downs” one of her own schools based on what one kid (Dunbar football player) did. Dunbar has done no more wrong than any other DPS school. There are so many notable, intelligent, diligent students at Dunbar, who excel and do the right things. Dunbar parents should be outraged and stand up for the positive qualities of the school. Punish the wrongdoer, not the entire school. Hold your heads up, Dunbar!

Deon Cash

Great article David.
Id like to bring u on my award winning sports show and talk about it.

A. Jackson

Without going into details, a person’s outer character does not always reveal what lies within. If D. Lawrence would have been a suitable Super to some, so be it. He certainly would have been better than who is at the DPS helm now. Being ‘better than’ does not make one the best, though. Stats don’t always tell the real story. The district must get rid of the dead weight at the Board and seek someone with a deep, sincere concern for ALL students, someone committed to getting into the trenches with students and parents and understanding their real needs, not someone standing on the sidelines, waiting for “investigations.” Surely, a capable district leader is out there somewhere. We need to do a search for an individual looking for more than a job and a stepping stone. If he/she has any baggage, keep looking.


What about how my kids’ school Edison is a hot mess after they “promoted” Mr Simmons to Wogaman and sent the current principal. Just a train wreck. Never had these problems at Edison when he was there. Son told me the 6 graders have to write because she told them they embarrassed her in front of district people that came in the building Tuesday.

Mr. Whtefolks

David Lawrence made mistakes…but he learned from them. He is capable of leading the district.

I think they should bring JB (Jyllian Bradshaw) back and put her in charge. She was the only person on the 6th floor who had morals. Plus, in my opinion, many of the issues DPS faces are legal.

Maybe JB and DL as co-supers?


Oh, and, of course, get rid of Burton.

A. Jackson

How nice of Lolli to issue halfway nice comments about Dunbar in the recent news, after she helped to tarnish their reputation in the first place. Ex. The insane basketball lawsuit against OHSAA. Coaches lied in court, never faced any penalty. C. Taylor committed perjury and the judge let him off. Lolli didn’t know if she was afoot or horseback regarding the incident. Dunbar had a stellar reputation with the State in sports until Mark Baker. Dunbar is no worse than any other DPS school or otherwise. The proud legacy of the school speaks for itself, and some just can’t handle that. The recent egregious act of the Dunbar football player should NOT go unpunished. He could have been any kid in any school, though. Dunbar always draws special attention.
Regarding the DPS current status, there’s no need to rehash who was good or bad. All the has-beens need not reapply. We’re at a crossroads now, and until the current Board wakes up, we’ll be stuck in a mire of defeat.

Dave C

I agree that DPS is looking at an “Inevitable Death” due to Lolli. The board is to blame, too.

Since the state will no longer take over failed school systems, what exactly will this death look like?

This is not a rhetorical or theoretical question. I truly believe DPS has reached a point of no return. I just don’t know what happens next.

Anyone have any thoughts on what form “Inevitable Death” will take?

Dave C

Yes, the pattern you outline is pretty clear.

How much of DPS can be replaced by charter schools? Is there a legal limit? It seems like there should be, but I honestly don’t know.

Is there an example somewhere in Ohio of a public school system being completely replaced by charter schools?

How far down the drain can this situation go?


This from the Ohio state profile at http://ecs.force.com/mbdata/mbstprofile?Rep=CSP17&st=Ohio:

“Does the state allow existing public schools to convert to charter schools?

Yes. Applications for conversion charter schools must include alternative arrangements for current students and teachers who choose not to attend the converted school. Only local school boards or boards of education service centers may sponsor conversion schools. Sponsors of proposed conversion charter schools that would operate in an alliance municipal school district are subject to approval by the department of education, with some exceptions.

Citations: Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3314.02”

So apparently, yes, DPS could be converted to charter school(s).

Dave C

Thanks, Diane.

So, what are the chances of DPS going full charter? Is that where this is all headed? Has an entire school system in Ohio ever done this? Can a public school system essentially go out of business, replaced by charters?

Or does another fate await DPS?

With the state unwilling to take over, what other options are there for the “Inevitable Death “ of DPS?

The only thing certain is that DPS is currently a disaster.

Mr. Whitefolks

So DPS going full charter. Well, what’s wrong with that idea? Wasn’t DPS a charter school incubator already? I believe it was at the turn of the century. Remember Colin Powell Academy? 5 percent of their students were proficient on state testing. DPS sponsors their own charters. I haven’t looked at there test scores, but they generally scored higher than the public schools. Why? Well I assume they selected students who could succeed. They had their own board. And they could spend their money how they wanted.

With public charters, such as Horizon and the long defunct Colin Powell, they initially have to allow any student enroll. However, students with significant special educational and behavioral problems don’t last long. They are often asked to leave. This practice is illegal and unethical. The nonpublic charters don’t have then resource (nice way of saying they don’t want to soend the money to meet the needs of these children). So, these children end up back at DPS.

Then there are the nonpublic charters (some correct me if my terminology is wrong). These include some fantastic schools. St. Anthony is wonderful, but they don’t bus (read into that how you like – but I think the average Daytonian knows why). Holy Angels – Holy Moly… but similar issues as St. Anthony’s. CJ, is awesome, but a selection process via tuition that surpasses the voucher. Only the athletes and scholars get a scholarship to cover the cost of full tuition. There is Gloria Dei Montessori. It is nice. They have s dog wonder the classrooms and a mean ass rooster. They try to keep students who have issues. The school is a bit strange in my opinion. The best, I would say Our Lady of the Rosary – why, well they don’t pull the crap the other schools do.

Just having charter schools is not the answer. You need to look at what Our Lady of the Rosary is doing right.

Maybe Dave can interview the principal to gain more insight?

Bubba Jones

Mr. Whitefolks – Are you sure that St. Anthony’s is a Charter School? Last time I checked they were a private, Catholic school right next to St. Anthony’s Church. The reason they don’t bus is because they don’t provide any transportation. It was supposed to be a neighborhood school when it was built MANY years ago.

People move into that neighborhood specifically so their kids can go there.

Since I’m not an “average Daytonian”, can you enlighten me on why you think they don’t bus?? Please!?


Charter schools are NOT the answer, and Dayton is the No. 1 example of why. It’s only been in the past few years or so that local media has paid ANY attention to them – they weren’t accountable, they didn’t have anyone who would respond to reporters and so it was a lot easier to keep hammering on DPS instead.

Nor are Catholic schools (which used to regularly host sessions for parents about how to game the system and get their kid a voucher by registering them in a nearby failing DPS school – clearly what Christ would have done). Every late fall would come the season of “count and dump” – charters and Catholic schools would get the $$ for the student, then promptly expel the “problem” ones, whose only recourse was (you guessed it) coming back to DPS.

No one in this town has their hands clean when it comes to public education.

Dave C

1) Charter schools are not the answer.
2) The state now refuses to take over failed school systems like DPS.
3) Lolli and the board are continuing to decimate DPS.

If all of the above are true (and I believe they are) then what happens next? I don’t think DPS has hit rock-bottom, because things are still getting worse.

How low can DPS sink, and what will the nadir look like?

Dave C

DPS moved up from an F to a D according to state evaluation. Not convinced this means much.


Dr.Hill Belmont principal texting my daughter on Instagram threatening her last wk and school board approves and defends him on this and they tried to order me to take down my fb post so i had to get ahold of mike turner