Teacher With Close Ties to Gov. John Kasich Promoted to Top Ohio Department of Education Post

Ohio Department of Education Senior Policy Advisor Sarah Dove
Ohio Department of Education Senior Policy Advisor Sarah Dove

The Ohio Department of Education's teacher liaison has been promoted to senior policy advisor, a top post at the agency.

Sarah Dove, 33, has a long association with Gov. John Kasich. She was a production assistant for his Fox News program Heartland with John Kasich. The program ran from 2001 to 2007.

Dove taught elementary school in the Gahanna-Jefferson school district for five years before joining the education department as teacher liaison in 2011. In that position she was tasked with gathering input from teachers on new teacher evaluation systems and performance pay plans.

Department officials said Dove's appointment would last one year.[related_content align="right"]

As teacher liaison, Dove's salary was $51,544.

Her promotion to senior policy advisor came with a raise of about $38,000, bringing her salary to about $89,500, according to state administrative records.

Department of Education spokesperson John Charlton did not respond to questions about Dove's current duties or the circumstances of her promotion. Dove herself did not respond to interview requests made through the Ohio Department of Education press office.

As senior policy advisor, Dove reports directly to Superintendent of Public Instruction Richard Ross. Ross previously served as Gov. Kasich’s education policy advisor.

And she's on the same level within the department as officials including Susan Zelman, who led the Department of Education herself for 9 years, and Doug Carpenter, who served as superintendent of a central Ohio school district for 26 years.

In 2011, the superintendent of Dove's former school district called her “an outstanding educator."

“She has a lot of energy, knows her students really well, is really bright and is up on the latest practices. She’s a leader in the building and one our bright spots in education,” former Gahanna-Jefferson Superintendent Mark White said.

Dove worked on Kasich's 2010 gubernatorial campaign and was publicly critical of teacher unions in the months leading up to the successful campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5. The bill would have sharply limited collective bargaining rights for Ohio public employees, including teachers.

The Ohio Education Association declined to comment on Dove's initial appointment or promotion.

Maureen Reedy, a former Ohio teacher of the year who ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio House of Representatives last year, said she knew many teachers who would be interested in serving as a senior policy advisor for the Department of Education -– many of them with decades of experience.

Reedy said she does not know Dove. But she said she was “disappointed” that the department didn’t conduct a statewide search to fill the position Dove now holds.

“Common sense would tell us that you would cast your net far and wide for quality candidates to deal with these complex issues, candidates who have had one foot in the classroom for decades and the other in an advocacy position,” she said.

“Someone who’s taught for 5 years, to look at the best education policies for our children in the classroom, it just isn’t a fit.”

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