New state school superintendent suddenly resigns

Less than a month after he was chosen as Ohio’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction, Steve Dackin has resigned from his role leading the Ohio Department of Education.

“Today, I received notice from Stephen D. Dackin of his resignation from the position of superintendent of public instruction,” state board of education president Charlotte McGuire said in a statement. “Dr. Stephanie Siddens will serve as interim superintendent of public instruction effective immediately until the State Board can appoint her as Interim Superintendent at the Board’s June meeting. I am confident that together we will continue the important work in support of Ohio’s children, families and future.”

McGuire’s statement did not list a reason for Dackin’s resignation. The move came suddenly, as leaders of two statewide education groups said they were unaware the move was coming.

There had been controversy over the fact that during the early days of Ohio’s recent search for a state superintendent, Dackin had been the leader of the search process. He then resigned from the state school board and declared his candidacy for the job. After going through interviews, he was chosen as state superintendent in a 14-4 vote by the state board of education on May 10.

Dackin’s short resignation letter, dated Friday, made reference to those concerns.

“Concerns have been raised about my recent acceptance of the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction,” Dackin wrote. “I don’t want ‘revolving door’ questions to distract from the important work ahead for schools, educators, and especially children.”

He wrote that he hopes “the department can get on with building the educational future for the children of Ohio.”

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Dackin succeeded former State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria, who retired last September. Siddens had been interim state superintendent after DeMaria left, but did not apply for the permanent job. She now returns to that interim role.

Dackin was most recently the superintendent of school and community partnerships at Columbus State Community College. Before that, he was superintendent of Reynoldsburg Schools near Columbus from 2007 until 2014.

After he was named state superintendent, Dackin received compliments from a broad range of groups, including teachers unions, charter school advocates and Gov. Mike DeWine.

Springboro superintendent Larry Hook was one of three finalists for the job when Dackin was named. The state board has not said how they will choose the next long-term superintendent or given a timeline.