Eye on Education

Ohio State Board of Ed Mounting National Search for Permanent Leader

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The Ohio State Board of Education will hire an outside search firm to help it find a new leader for the state Department of Education.

Former state Superintendent Stan Heffner resigned last month after a report by the state inspector general detailed how he inappropriately lobbied for a private testing company last year. Michael Sawyers, former deputy superintendent, became acting superintendent upon Heffner’s resignation.

The board did not name Sawyers interim superintendent, the post which Heffner held before being appointed to the post permanently. But board President Debe Terhar said there’s no practical difference between being “acting” and “interim” superintendent. Asked whether not appointing Sawyers interim superintendent showed a lack of faith in Sawyers, Terhar said “absolutely not.”

The state used an outside agency to find Heffner’s predecessor, Deb Delisle, at a cost of about $45,000.

The board did not set a public timeline for selecting Ohio’s next state superintendent, but several board members suggested they were not in a rush.

“We need to let the process work its way through,” Board Member Deborah Cain said.

The board’s nine-member Executive Committee will meet later this week to develop a recommendation about which search firm to hire. The full board will vote on the firm’s hiring at the September board meeting.


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