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New DPS superintendent ‘uniquely situated’ for role, ready to keep positive momentum rolling

DAYTON — A day after being named the next superintendent of Dayton Public Schools (DPS), News Center 7 spoke to Dr. David Lawrence about his lifelong connection to the district he’s now leading.

Lawrence has been with the district since he was a child, attending Jane Addams Elementary. After a stint at Roth, he graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School.

On Tuesday, a unanimous vote named Lawrence the superintendent. He told News Center 7′s Letitia Perry that he was relieved because he felt like he’d been interviewing for the position for the past eight months as he worked as the interim superintendent.

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“I have to say this; I never really operated as an interim. You know, you put a plan together and you execute it,” Lawrence said. “I think that all of us, at some point in our lives, are interim or all of our jobs are limited. I just think about the results and how to get them.”

He’s been planning his work and working his plan since being appointed as the interim in July. As reported on News Center 7 at 5:00, district leaders said there has already been a positive movement in academics and lower student absenteeism since he took over.

“With the team that David Lawrence is putting together, as long as with communication with the board, it really has to be a team effort,” Will Smith, DPS Board of Education president, said. “We want to see continued improvement. We want to see not only why are kids wanting to come to school, but how do we keep them there, how do we keep parents involved.”

Last fall, during our exclusive interview with Lawrence, he spoke about his “key pillars:” culture, communication, collaboration, and customer service.

“Taking our message out to the community and then asking, ‘How can we get better? What is it that you need and what are the gaps?’ I know it’s uncomfortable to hear sometimes, but we want to hear it,” he said.

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Board leaders said their new boss is a shining example of what the district can produce: a student leader, an athlete, a motivator, a certified instructor, and ultimately, a top leader with nearly 30 years of experience. Lawrence said it’s all led to this moment.

“I’ve been uniquely situated to be a superintendent. I was an elementary, middle school, and high school teacher. I was an elementary, middle school, and high school principal. I was a basketball coach, track coach,” he said.

He also spent several years in administration in various districts.

Lawrence said he’s ready to get to work, to return this school district to its deserved glory.

“I can remember when Dayton Public Schools was great. It’s not a fiction of my imagination. I lived it. I was a kid who went to school here,” he said.

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