Steve Dackin selected to lead the Ohio Department of Education

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The state board of education voted to appoint Steve Dackin as superintendent of public instruction at the Ohio Department of Education.

Steve Dackin, former state board of education member, named state superintendent of public instruction.
Steve Dackin, former state board of education member, named state superintendent of public instruction. [Ida Lieszkovszky |
Dackin, the former vice president of the state board of education, got the job with a 14-4 vote among the board members.

Before applying for the position, Dackin was leading the process to fill the role left open by the resignation of former state superintendent Paolo DeMaria.

There are lingering questions among critics about the access Dackin had to material submitted by other applicants.

While the other candidates had said they were concerned about political agendas in schools, Dackin said his top concern was learning loss from the pandemic.

Several groups and leaders congratulated Dackin on the new role.

The Ohio School Boards Association noted Dackin’s more than 40 years of experience in educational leadership positions, which included six years as Reynoldsburg City School superintendent and a recent post as superintendent of school and community partnerships for Columbus State University.

“Steve has a storied career in education, with a demonstrated track record of improving education and achievement for students. We look forward to addressing these challenges together,” the Ohio School Boards Association wrote in a statement.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a charter school sponsor and advocacy group, also commended Dackin’s appointment.

Chad Aldis, vice president for Ohio policy at the Fordham Institute said Dackin is “a proven leader who has throughout his career emphasized high expectations for all students and recognized the importance of empowering parents with high quality education options.”

The search for a new state superintendent began after Paolo DeMaria announced in July 2021 that he would retire. His last day with the department of education was September 21, 2021.

DeMaria became the fourth superintendent to take the helm of ODE in five years, but went on to serve in that post for five years under two different Ohio governors.

DeMaria took over as head of the education department in the middle of former Gov. John Kasich’s time in office, then continued to serve during the first years of Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration.

DeWine also released a statement in support of Dackin’s appointment.

“I congratulate Steve Dackin on his selection as superintendent of public instruction by the State Board of Education. His experience, both as a member of the board and in public education, will help him be an effective voice for Ohio’s students and their parents as he leads the department of education,” DeWine said in a statement.

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