Eye on Education

State Board to Interview Four Candidates for Post of Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction

Leo Reynolds / Flickr

Four candidates are in the running to become the next head of the Ohio Department of Education.

The semi-finalists are:

  • Charles Hokanson. Hokanson served in the U.S. Department of Education during the George W. Bush administration and is the former president of the Alliance for School Choice. Hokanson is a lawyer and currently works as an education consultant in the Washington, D.C. area.

  • Dick Ross. Ross has served as lead education advisor for Gov. John Kasich since January 2012. He previously served as superintendent of the Reynoldsburg school district for 20 years before retiring in 2008.
  • Michael Sawyers. Sawyers currently serves as acting superintendent of public instruction. He served previously as an assistant state superintendent overseeing the state’s Race to the Top work. Before that, he was superintendent of the Perry school district.
  • Michael Sentance.  Sentance served as secretary of education and in other roles under Republican governors in Massachussetts. Sentance is a lawyer and currently works as an education consultant in Massachusetts.

Former state superintendent of public instruction Stan Heffner resigned in August after the state inspector general found he had committed ethics violations. The board hired Iowa-based search firm Ray and Associates to conduct a national search for a replacement.

The state board search committee expects to interview the four candidates on March 4 before narrowing the field further, Ohio Department of Education spokesperson John Charlton said. The committee will meet again on March 11 to interview the finalist or finalists.

The candidate interviews will not be open to the public.

The full board could vote on selecting the candidate to hire as early as March 12, Charlton said.



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