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State school superintendent who served for three weeks picked to head Ohio education agency

Gov. Mike DeWine selected Steve Dackin as the director of the new Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.
Ohio Department of Education
Gov. Mike DeWine selected Steve Dackin as the director of the new Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

A former state school board member who served as the state school superintendent for just over three weeks last year has been appointed as the director of the new Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.

Steve Dackin is a former superintendent of the Reynoldsburg City Schools, and was superintendent of school and community partnerships for Columbus State Community College. He was first appointed to the state school board by former Republican Gov. John Kasich and then reappointed by Gov. Mike DeWine. He became board president in November 2021.

When superintendent Paolo DeMaria retired in September 2021, Dackin led the process to hire a new superintendent. After a few months, the search ended when the state school board voted 14-4 to hire Dackin over two other candidates as superintendent in May 2022.

But that didn’t last. Dackin resigned on June 3, 2022. There had been questions among critics of the process about the access Dackin had to material submitted by other applicants. He signed a settlement agreement with the Ohio Ethics Commission in October 2022, admitting that he potentially violated state ethics laws.

DeWine said in a statement: “Steve Dackin has a broad base of experience that will benefit Ohio’s continued efforts to create a transformative education system that provides the resources and support for students and serves as a pipeline of talented young people to Ohio employers, colleges, universities, and career and technical education centers, helping every Ohioan live up to their God-given potential."

Dackin would head the new Ohio Department of Education and Workforce agency created to assume academic powers of the state school board. Seven progressive-leaning elected board members sued over that Republican-backed overhaul, but a judge has dissolved an order to stop that transition. The case is still in court as the board members have objected to that judge's decision.

The choice of Dackin got praise from the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, which represents Ohio's local school superintendents. The Ohio Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, hasn't issued a statement, but president Scott DiMauro said he looks forward to working with him.

Dackin's appointment was also cheered by the the Chamber of Commerce and the Fordham Institute, a pro-charter school group.

Dackin's appointment must be confirmed by the Ohio Senate.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.