Longtime Solon City School District Superintendent Joseph Regano died Sunday (July 5) after a long battle with cancer, school officials announced.
Mr. Regano has been on medical leave since August of 2019. He had been with the district for 35 years.
“Joe was more than just the leader of this district,” said Fred Bolden, Solon Schools superintendent pro tempore in a written statement. “His fingerprints are on every facet of our schools. There are few people or places in our community that have not been directly affected by his leadership. For me, he was like a father, a mentor and friend. The bar for excellence in leadership that he has set is something that everyone in our Solon Schools family continually strives to attain. We are all grieving today and Joe will be missed greatly, but his memory will also inspire us all to do better and dig deeper each and every day for the students and community he loved.”
School board members extended their condolences to the Regano family.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with Joe both as a colleague and friend,” BOE President Julie Glavin, said. “For 35 years, Joe Regano represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Solon City Schools. As a leader, Joe’s contribution was nothing short of exceptional. The well-being of all students was always his top priority and doing ‘what is best for kids’ factored into every decision Joe made. “It is difficult to put into words how much he will be missed by his fellow administrators, staff members, students and the entire community,” Mrs. Glavin continued. “Joe was so widely respected in the education community at large and will long be remembered as one of the most talented and most successful superintendents in the state of Ohio.”
School officials said that under Mr. Regano’s leadership, the Solon Schools matured from a very good 2,400-student suburban school district to a district twice that size with a state and national reputation for innovation and excellence.
He never wavered in demanding that all Solon students have access to the best possible educational program, district officials said, which included equal emphasis on high-quality extra-curricular activities and the arts.
Officials said that among Mr. Regano’s proudest accomplishments were successes both in and out of the classroom for Solon students; the collaborative efforts of everyone in the Solon Schools to create a professional learning community; and the strong, supportive relationship among the Solon Schools, the City of Solon, the Village of Glenwillow and all of the area families, residents and businesses. His contributions to that partnership led in large part to his induction to the Solon Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame.
Mr. Regano served as president and chairperson of several professional boards and organizations, including the Greater Cleveland Superintendents’ Association and the Alliance for Adequate School Funding.
“As a communicator, Joe was also the best of the best,” Mrs. Glavin noted. “Throughout his career, Joe Regano was committed to providing effective communication and ensuring that all Solon residents understood the critical role they play in the overall success of the district. On a personal note, I have been fortunate to work with Joe for many years and have firsthand knowledge of how much he contributed to the growth and development of the Solon Schools. One of my favorite memories of Joe will be his boundless sense of humor. Regardless of the situation, he could always add something positive to help brighten the moment. It was easy for Joe to find joy doing the work he loved.”
“Joe was a leader who made each of us feel important and special all of the time,” said Debbie Siegel, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. “He believed in all of us and he cared about all of us. Joe always just gave. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him.”
“Joe was one of the most positive individuals I have ever met,” added Solon Schools Treasurer Tim Pickana. “He cared for so many people, far beyond what most will ever be able to comprehend. I can only hope to become a fraction of the man one day that he was. He was an unbelievable friend and this void in my heart will never be able to be filled. We love you Joe. Heaven has truly gained a beautiful angel today.’
A 1966 graduate of Warrensville Heights High School, Mr. Regano earned a bachelor’s degree in business education in 1970 from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in educational administration from Cleveland State University in 1975. He taught business in the Euclid Schools for many years and advanced to the central office staff there as business manager. Mr. Regano joined the Solon Schools 35 years ago in 1985 and led the district as superintendent since Aug. 1, 1987.
Funeral arrangements were pending on Sunday.