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Top position at Ohio Department of Education could be vacant for a while

The Ohio Board of Education, in session in April 2017.
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
The Ohio Board of Education, in session in April 2017

It may be a while before the state school board hires a new superintendent for Ohio’s public schools.

The search is needed after Steve Dackin resigned in May after 11 days because of ethics questions, and the job is still unfilled.

State Board of Education President Charlotte McGuire said the board is identifying a search company and the process will go forward in what she calls a reasonable time.

“When I say we're not rushing it, I'm just saying we want to operate in the highest degree of integrity, transparency and excellence in the process to be sure we get the right person permanently in the state of Ohio," McGuire said.

That could mean a candidate might not be selected until after the November election, when nine seats on the 19-member board will be decided, as well as who occupies the governor's office.

The board is made up of 11 elected members and eight members appointed by the governor. Four of the appointed members — Mark Lamoncha, Paul LaRue, Walt Davis, Mike Toal — have terms that end in December 2022. There is one appointee vacancy that hasn't been filled.

With no superintendent in place, the board with new members could vote to start the process over.

But McGuire said work on the board's priorities of literacy and workforce development will continue under interim superintendent Stephanie Siddens.

“In any sector, whether it's the government sector, the education sector, or even the business sector, your CEO may turn over. But that does not stop effective operations if you have good people in place," McGuire said.

Siddens hasn't yet said if she’s interested in the permanent job.

Former superintendent Paolo DeMaria resigned in September 2021 after five years in the position, bringing stability to that post. There had been four superintendents in the five years before DeMaria took over.

Steve Dackin resigned in May after lingering questions among critics about the access that he had to material submitted by other applicants for the superintendent job.
Dackin was a board member and led the search for a new superintendent before applying for the job himself.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.
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