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Elyria Schools Taps Leaders for New Era

The 2021-2022 school year approaches with great expectation as Elyria City School District readies to open Eastern Heights and Westwood Campuses, the final two schools in its multi-year, multimillion-dollar school construction project.

Last fall the district kicked off the school year with the brand-new facilities of Ely Elementary School, Hamilton Elementary School and Northwood Campus.  Circumstances surrounding the pandemic prevented any public celebrations or opening ceremonies for the new schools.

COVID-19 safety procedures are still in place this school year and will be for as long as health officials deem necessary, but the district is eagerly anticipating a more traditional return to school in the fall.

“The staff, students and parents of Elyria Schools have so much to be proud of,” Superintendent Ann Schloss said. “To say it’s been a trying year is an understatement but our school family has persevered and they’ve accomplished amazing feats through hybrid and virtual learning. I couldn’t be more proud.

“That said, we’re looking forward to returning school to what it should be. We have beautiful, modern, brand-new facilities to welcome students back in the fall and we can’t wait see the schools functioning as they should.

“Our teachers and staff have shown amazing versatility, expertise and courage through these difficult times and our building leaders and administrators have shined,” Schloss said. “As we forge ahead and begin the next chapter in Elyria Schools, I commend our staff and families for their exceptional work, patience and support through the pandemic and I look forward to the bright future that awaits us.”


This summer will see the finishing touches to the new K-8 Eastern Heights Campus and the demolition of the former middle school building. The new campus of Eastern Heights is located on the same site as the current school on Garford Ave.

Prospect and McKinley Elementary schools will also permanently close at the end of this school year.

When Eastern Heights Campus opens this fall, its new leadership team will include Jessica Barwacz, Joy Jones and Dana Cerrito.

Jessica Barwacz is currently principal of Prospect Elementary School and has served in an administrative role in the Elyria Schools for nine years.

Joy Jones, currently principal of Oakwood Elementary School, has been a principal in the district for 16 years.

Dana Cerrito
, now principal of Crestwood Elementary School, has worked as a principal in Elyria Schools for six years.


The new Westwood Campus located in Elyria Township on the existing property of Westwood Middle School will open in December 2021.

Students will begin attending the new K-8 campus when they return to school from winter break in January 2022.

At the close of this school year, Oakwood Elementary School will shutter its doors and its students will attend Crestwood Elementary School next fall until the new Westwood Campus opens.

Taking the top spots at the new Westwood Campus are Theresa Lengel, Jim Rollence and Stacey Gatten.

Theresa Lengel has spent 12 years on the administrative team of Elyria Schools. She is currently principal of Westwood Middle School.

Jim Rollence has served as a principal in the district for 11 years. He currently serves as assistant principal of Westwood Middle and Northwood Middle schools.

Stacey Gatten, now principal of McKinley Elementary School, has been a building leader with Elyria Schools for seven years.


Northwood Campus opened its doors in September 2020. The school, though one facility, serves grades K-8 in separate elementary and middle school wings.

Leading Northwood Elementary School is Principal Miranda Roscoe. Miranda has served as a principal in Elyria Schools for 15 years. She was the principal of Windsor Elementary School before taking the top spot at Northwood Elementary.

Principal Mike Basinski only had to move his belongings across town as he transitioned last year as principal of the old Northwood Middle School to principal of the new Northwood Middle School. Mike has been a building leader in the district for 16 years.

Joining Mike at Northwood Middle School in 2021-2022 is Brenda Wittman. Brenda joined the administrative team of Elyria Schools two years ago as an assistant principal at Eastern Heights.


The new school year will see familiar faces in new roles at Elyria High School.

Courtney Griffiths
, currently assistant principal at the high school, will take the role of Associate Principal in the fall. Courtney will work alongside current Associate Principal, Julie Owca, and Principal Tim Brown. Courtney has served the Elyria Schools for three years.

Vincent Velazquez
now serves as coordinator of Elyria High School’s Pioneer Academy. In the fall, Vince will serve Elyria High School as an assistant principal, joining Brett Heighberger, Katie Kalamasz and Chad Heuser.

Kim Benetto
, current principal of Eastern Heights Middle School, will take a new leadership role in Pioneer Academy.


The new Ely and Hamilton Elementary schools opened last fall at the same time as Northwood Campus.

The schools are designed in exactly the same style as the three new campus schools but smaller, serving only elementary students through fourth grade.

Hamilton Elementary School also offers a preschool program for students in the Hamilton attendance area.

Principal Jodie Johnson and Assistant Principal Joel Melvin continue to serve as Hamilton’s leadership team. Jodie and Joel were principals at Franklin Elementary School until its closure last spring. Jodie and Joel have been principals with Elyria Schools for 6 years and 3 years, respectively.

Ely Elementary School welcomed Brandon Easton as principal in 2019. Brandon ushered the old Ely through its final year of service and led the new Ely through its inaugural year. Brandon will continue serving as principal of Ely.


The Elyria Early Childhood Village (EECV) serves students aged three through six in preschool and kindergarten. Jackie Plantner is the principal of EECV and will remain so.

Administrative assignments outlined in this release are pending board approval.