DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Dayton Public Schools will soon begin the search for a new superintendent after Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli announced she will leave once her contract ends.

Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli sent a letter to the district last week, reflecting on her 6 years as superintendent. Lolli announced she will step down once her contract expires on July 31.

“I never planned on being superintendent of Dayton Public Schools, and it kind of landed in my lap, and I’m truly grateful that it did,” Lolli told 2 NEWS during Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

Dr. Lolli has served as the DPS superintendent since 2018. She has also served in a variety of positions from classroom teacher and curriculum director to assistant principal. In addition, Dr. Lolli was selected as the 2023 Ohio Superintendent of the Year by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.

Lolli said she signed to stay on as superintendent for two additional years to help the district through the COVID-19 pandemic and boost the district’s report card score. Now that the district has moved past that time, she’s ready to move on to her next step.

“Last year, when we were back in school full time, we were able to bring that score back up, which is just an amazing feat,” Lolli said. “So many schools around us have not recovered from COVID. We were able to do that with our double teaching model that we put in our primary.”

Lolli told 2 NEWS one of her biggest accomplishments was improving the district’s report card score from years of F’s to a D in 2019. She said some of her other achievements include supporting athletics by providing enough uniforms and upgrading facilities, making sure the district is fiscally sound and using ESSER funds on student needs in the classroom.

“I don’t want it to seem like it’s it’s just me,” Lolli said. “This has been a great group effort. Our entire staff, our SROs, our principals, our teachers, you know, our operations personnel, our transportation people. Everybody has been part of this upward movement.”

Now, the Board of Education will begin the search for the next superintendent. The board took the first step to do that during their meeting Tuesday night.

2 NEWS asked Lolli her advice for her successor, she said look at what is best for the students.

“If it’s not right for students, then it’s not the right decision,” Lolli said. “So it’s about students. Students first, always, in every decision that you make.”

Lolli said this announcement is not a retirement, and it not yet sharing her plan for her next move.