Colleagues hail Paolo DeMaria as a passionate leader, a tireless worker, a respectful listener, a consensus builder and a man with a great sense of humor. All are qualities Paolo calls on daily as he works to support an education system of nearly 3,600 public schools and more than 1.6 million students.
Much of DeMaria’s 30-year career has focused on school finance and promoting higher student achievement, college readiness and completion, and school choice for families. DeMaria is an unabashed cheerleader for Ohio’s public schools, having sent his children to Columbus Public Schools and The Graham School.
The son of European immigrants, the West Virginia native is the product of the public education systems of Easton, Pennsylvania; Charleston, South Carolina; Scotch Plains, New Jersey; and Greenville, South Carolina. DeMaria has a 25-year record of public service for the state of Ohio, having formerly served as a staff member in the Ohio Senate, assistant director and director of Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management and as chief policy advisor to former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.
Later, as associate superintendent for the Ohio Department of Education’s Center for School Options and Finance, he supervised the distribution of more than $7 billion annually to Ohio K-12 school districts and developed policies and legislative recommendations on school finance and educational choices for families. Afterward, he served as executive vice chancellor of the Ohio Board of Regents, leading initiatives to improve college completion, increase credential attainment, make textbooks more affordable and increase college readiness.
Before being chosen as chief executive officer of Ohio’s K-12 education system, DeMaria served for six years as principal consultant for Education First Consulting, guiding policy, implementation and strategy projects for K-12 and higher education clients in several states.
DeMaria earned his bachelor of arts, summa cum laude, from Furman University of Greenville, South Carolina, and a master’s of public administration from The Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He has co-authored several publications, including K-12/Higher Education Alignment: An Action Agenda for Increasing Student Success, for Core to College and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.
His honors include The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished State Government Service Award and being named by Columbus Business First Magazine as one of 20 [People] to Know in Education.
DeMaria speaks fluent Italian. He lives with his wife, Patty, and their cats in the Schumacher Place neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio, and often bicycles to work. The DeMarias have two grown children, Sara and Tristan.