Ohio interim state school superintendent Siddens leaving for new job

Legislature is proposing overhaul of Ohio Department of Education that would affect leadership roles

Stephanie Siddens, who has been Ohio’s interim state school superintendent for most of the last year and a half, says she will leave that post this summer.

Siddens tweeted Friday afternoon that she will accept an offer to serve as deputy superintendent of the Upper Arlington City School District starting July 1, pending their board’s approval of her hire Tuesday.

“It is an honor to serve the students and schools of Ohio as interim superintendent and I stand ready to work on a successful transition,” Siddens said.

Siddens’ move comes at the same time as Ohio’s State Board of Education is continuing to argue about who should be the next long-term state superintendent of public instruction. The last one, Paolo DeMaria, retired in September 2021 after five years on the job.

In May 2022, the state hired Steve Dackin as the state superintendent, but he resigned after only a few weeks on the job after controversy about how he was hired, with accusations of ethics violations.

Siddens served as interim superintendent after DeMaria left and returned to the role after Dackin left.

Her departure also comes as the state legislature is debating Senate Bill 1. The bill would reorganize the Ohio Department of Education into the renamed Department of Education and Workforce (DEW) and transfer most of the powers and duties of the State Board of Education and the superintendent of public instruction into that new department. The state superintendent position would become an advisor to a director of education, who would be appointed by the governor.

It’s not clear what the state school board’s next steps would be. ODE officials did not immediately return a request for comment.

Siddens’ hiring is on the human resources agenda for Tuesday’s Upper Arlington school district board meeting. If approved, she would start on July 1, and her contract would continue through July 31, 2025.

Siddens spent more than 15 years working at the Ohio Department of Education, including time as senior executive director of ODE’s Center for Student Supports, which is focused on the state’s “whole child” approach to education. She was also senior executive director of curriculum and assessment for four years, and a director in the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness for eight years.

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