November 26, 2014

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State takeover of Lorain Schools underway


LORAIN – The academic takeover of Lorain Schools began today with the naming of a five-member Academic Distress Commission.

The state-appointed members are Commission Chairman William Zelei, Rosa Rivera-Hainaj and Cathy Deitlin. The locally-appointed members are Henry Patterson and Raul Ramos.

Ramos is a Lorain County Community College professor and former Lorain Board of Education member who served for 16 years in the 1990s through the mid-2000s. Patterson is an assistant professor at LCCC and an attorney who worked for Lorain Schools from 2000-2006 helping prepare students for college.

Zelei is head of the Ohio Schools Council, a purchasing consortium for 192 Ohio school districts. He previously was superintendent of South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools and an associate superintendent for the accountability division of the Ohio Department of Education.

Rivera-Hainaj is LCCC’s dean of science and mathematics and serves on the board of El Centro, a Latino community center. Dietlin is the executive director of Reach Higher Lorain, a group that works on improving students business skills. She a former Lorain Schools teacher and administrator and Rocky River Schools assistant superintendent.

The takeover was due to Lorain not meeting “adequate yearly progress” a federal benchmark, for four straight years. Lorain met just one of 26 standards on the state academic report card in the 2011-12 school year and was designated in academic emergency by the department earlier this year.

Zelei said the commission plans to hold its first meeting in a week or two. The commission has 120 days to approve a comprehensive academic recovery plan which will be sent to the department.

- See Tuesday’s Chronicle-Telegram for the full story.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 and egoodeow@chroniclet.com