By Allison Motter
Paolo DeMaria is the State superintendent for all 1,093 schools in Ohio, He was also a city council leader trainer for ten years. He was born in West Virginia. Paolo DeMaria earned his bachelor’s from the Furman University and a master of public administration from the Ohio State University’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. He has earned a lot of awards and honors with his job, such as The Ohio State University Alumni Association’s Distinguished State Government Service Award and he was named by Columbus Business First Magazine as one of twenty People to Know in Education.
When asked about the problems between cultures in Columbus, Paolo DeMaria said, “Some people don’t understand the challenges other people go through.” People build barriers between different cultures because they assume things based on what one person from that culture did. As they say, their decisions speak louder than words. But is that true in this situation? Some people may just be assuming stuff about certain cultures or they may think that they’re better than immigrants.
When asked about the solutions to these problems, DeMaria said, “we should understand the challenges they go through, everyone has their own problems to deal with. Treat them equally and don’t think you’re better than them just because you have something that they don’t. If we ever see this happen we should at least help that person and talk to them and become friends! Build understandings with them and If there is any other conflicts hear from more than one person and their side of the story instead of assuming stuff from that one person’s story.” He also said that ”We should bring people together. Do more projects like this! We brought so many people together in just the last few months.” The most important thing Paolo DeMaria said is “we should start with the young kids and teens, because we will be the leaders to lead the young ones to what is right someday.”
Paolo DeMaria has done so much for Ohio, and his hope is that his message inspires others to follow in his footsteps. The most important step is also the most difficult: listen to people you don’t agree with, and try to understand their thinking.