NORTH RIDGEVILLE — Carol L. Klimas, executive vice president and head of KeyCorp’s Wealth Management Segment, has been named president of Lake Ridge Academy, the school’s board of directors announced Wednesday.
Klimas succeeds Debbie Cook, who resigned earlier this year to accept a similar position on the East Coast.
Klimas’ appointment, effective July 1, represents a growing trend in hiring individuals with corporate rather than education backgrounds, according to school officials.
“In this day and age of financial challenges for schools of all types, the senior leader of an independent school must possess the abilities of a chief executive officer,” said Lee C. Howley, chairman of the Lake Ridge board of directors. “Carol brings outstanding credentials in terms of leadership, organizational skills and financial acumen to this position,” he said.
“Most important, the board was impressed with her passion for children and the quality of their education.”
Howley called Klimas a dynamic and visionary leader with excellent business credentials as well as extensive experience in working with a national non-profit organization, the National Arthritis Foundation, where she served as a national chair and continues as a trustee. Klimas said she had a great interest in the holistic education of children.
“The development of young children is a passion of mine,” Klimas said. “Lake Ridge is a unique community treasure because the school focuses not only on high academic standards but the character and creativity of its students.”
As the school’s new leader, Klimas said she wants to bring Lake Ridge the recognition it deserves.
“I don’t think the school is widely recognized as it should be for what it truly brings to Northeast Ohio,” she said.
Klimas expects to become active in community organizations and look for ways the school can support community involvement and progress. Howley said a nationwide search was conducted to find a president. He did not say how many people applied for the position.
“We were pleasantly surprised to find someone embedded in the Cleveland community with an appreciation for the value of a quality independent school education,” he said.
Klimas joined KeyCorp in 1992 as vice president and manager of Key Trust Co. of the West in Salt Lake City, Utah. She rose through the ranks and became president of KeyCorp Insurance Management Group and executive vice president and chief fiduciary officer of McDonald Financial Group.
Carol L. Klimas’ resume
* Executive vice president and head of KeyCorp’s Wealth Management Segment
* Former chairwoman of the National Arthritis Foundation
* Executive committee member of the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the American Red Cross
* Community awards from United Way, YWCA and many others
* Bachelor’s of business administration in finance and banking from Alvernia College in Pennsylvania