Eye on Education

President Obama Nominates Former Ohio Schools Chief Deb Delisle for U.S. Department of Education Post

WKSU File Photo

Former Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Deborah Delisle is expected to be nominated for a top U.S. Department of Education post.

Less than a year after Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Deb Delisle resigned her post, she has re-emerged as a nominee for a top post in the U.S. Department of Education.

The White House is expected to announce Delisle’s nomination tonight for the post of Assistant Secretary of Education for Elementary and Secondary Education, a spokesperson for Sen. Sherrod Brown says. (Note: See update below.)

Delisle submitted her resignation to the State Board of Education in March after members of Gov. John Kasich’s administration told her that her tenure “was coming to an end.” In her resignation letter, she noted that Ohio had “strengthened its presence on the national education stage” during her 2 1/2-year tenure.

She wrote:

It has been my goal to never allow a child’s zip code to predetermine the quality of his/her education. That has been my mission and I will continue to carry this passion into the next phase of my career.

The State Board of Education eventually replaced Delisle with interim state schools chief Stan Heffner, but not before Gov. Kasich’s education point guy Bob Sommers applied for the position. (Sommers later withdrew his application over ethics concerns. Sommers, too, is making a move. He submitted his resignation from the governor’s office effective Jan. 31.)

Sen. Brown said in a statement that Delisle joins the ranks of Ohioans who “serve in the Administration with distinction:”

Deb is a remarkable public servant who will be a tremendous asset to Secretary Arne Duncan and his team at the Department of Education. First as superintendent at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights school district and then as Ohio’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Deb has demonstrated a deep commitment to Ohio’s students, families, and teachers.

Update, Jan. 24: On Monday evening, Obama did in fact announce his intent to nominate Delisle and about a dozen other people for key administration posts. He said in a written statement:

“I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the comings months and years.”



  • Portia A. Boulger

    Kasich threw her under the bus last year, such a loss for Ohio. A big win for the nation.

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