Leighton Elementary under new leadership this school year

Staff Writer
Kent Weeklies
Michelle Nizen

The Aurora Board of Education has unanimously voted to employ Michelle Nizen as principal for the Aurora School District’s Leighton Elementary School.

Nizen will replace former Leighton School Principal, Mike Janatovich, who returned to the Cuyahoga Heights City School District as a middle/high school principal.

Nizen is a graduate of John Carroll University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and Reading Endorsement. Nizen then went on to earn Master’s degrees in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration from Ashland University.

Nizen was most recently the principal at Jordak Elementary in the Cardinal School District from 2018-20. Prior to that, she spent 14 years in in the Fairport Harbor School District as an assistant principal. She was active in teacher, building and district leadership teams and created innovative resources and programming to support student’s needs, such as sensory integration and systemic educational constructs.

Nizen was also heavily involved in refining the Response to Intervention (RTI) and Positive Behavior Intervention Supports (PBIS), initiatives that earned gold medal recognition from the State of Ohio.

Superintendent, Pat Ciccantelli, said, “We are excited to add Michelle Nizen to our administrative team. She is an outstanding administrator, with educational experiences that have prepared her for her role at Leighton. She is knowledgeable and student-centered, and her visions for Leighton aligns well with the district initiatives. We are thrilled to welcome her to Aurora and Leighton Elementary.”

Nizen discussed her new role with the Aurora schools.

“I am extremely excited to be joining the Leighton School staff this year and meeting the wonderful educational community and welcoming ‘our’ children back to school this Fall,” she said. “I am committed to fostering a positive school culture and climate through a strong positive behavior supports program and continuing to capitalize on the upward trends of our educational gains here at Leighton.

“I am very much looking forward to working with my outstanding team of educational professionals to foster a school climate that encourages our young people to continue to thrive and that inspires excellence through the six competencies of our strategic vision. I am looking forward to getting to know all of my families as we learn and grow together this year.”