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Matt Krivak is looking forward to the challenges of being principal at Gilles-Sweet Elementary School this year.

Becoming principal at Gilles-Sweet Elementary School is a natural progression for Matt Krivak.

The son of Terry Krivak, a retired longtime teacher, administrator and superintendent in the Berea and North Olmsted school districts, has a brother and sister who also went into education, while his wife is an education intervention specialist who works with special-education students. Matt Krivak is moving into the principal’s job this year after spending the last five years as associate principal. Longtime principal Barbara Brady retired at the end of the last school year.

His family belief in education is strong.

We definitely got the education gene from my dad,” Krivak, 44, said. “Mom worked in the airline industry, but we all seemed to gravitate to education. He set a great example for us to follow in caring about education and wanting to go into it.”

His father taught him that building relationships with students, fellow educators and the community is key.

“You’ve got to be able to work with different people in a lot of ways,” Krivak said. “I enjoy building and maintaining those relationships.”

Krivak arrived at Fairview Park City Schools five years ago after 17 years in the Berea City School District, primarily as an elementary school science teacher.

“I’ve always enjoyed being with students at the elementary level,” Krivak said. “They’re at a great age to work with and build strong relationships with them and their family.”

Krivak’s desire to work with students was evident when he interviewed for the associate principal’s job, Brady said.

“He was far and away the No. 1 candidate for the job,” she said. “His caring and passion for helping students really made him stand out.”

Krivak relates to students and their families, Brady said.

“He’s just a down-to-earth guy who communicates that caring and desire to other people very clearly,” Brady said. “The students and their families see that and respond to it. They really enjoyed being around him whenever they were working with him on something for the school or the neighborhood around the school.”

Krivak is also a good leader and building administrator, Brady said.

“When I told people I was retiring, the other staff members immediately started asking or saying he should be the one to succeed me,” Brady said. “People were coming into my office, asking ‘He’s going to get the job isn’t he? They have to pick him for it.’”

Getting the job while the country is coping with the effects of COVID-19 is tough, but Brady believes Krivak is up to the challenge.

“It’s tough coming into the job in a situation like we have right now, but when I thought about it, I realized he’s the kind of guy you want in the job in a situation like this,” Brady said. “He’s a high-energy guy who does a lot of things really well.”

Krivak appreciates the support and confidence he gets from fellow staff members and the community.

“It makes the job easier when you get that kind of support,” he said. “It allows you to work on a lot of issues.”

That support will help the school and the community deal with COVID-19, Krivak said.

“We’re all dealing with a lot of new situations as a result of the virus,” he said. “We’re learning while we deal with it.”

Krivak said he always wants to give back to the community around the schools he attended. He owns student rental property near the University of Akron, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education. “The school was good to me and students near the school need a good place to live,” Krivak said.

Brady wasn’t surprised when she found out Krivak provides good housing for college students.

“He always does what’s good for the school and the students in different situations, he’s the best person I’ve seen for doing that,” said Brady, who worked in the Fairview Park district for 36 years. “I’m sure he’ll continue to do that in future years.”

Krivak plans to continue working in education for many years and might follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a district administrator as well.

“I enjoy being involved in education in many ways and we’ll see what the future brings,” Krivak said.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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