Siddens named Ohio’s interim K-12 school superintendent

Stephanie Siddens will become Ohio’s interim superintendent of public schools starting in one month after Paolo DeMaria retires Sept. 24.

Siddens, a 15-year Ohio Department of Education veteran, was approved for the role Monday by the state school board. That board also began a “request for proposals” process to hire a search firm, which will eventually lead the search for DeMaria’s long-term replacement.

ExploreDeMaria retiring after five years as state superintendent

Since 2018, Siddens has been Senior Executive Director of ODE’s Center for Student Supports, which is focused on the state’s “whole child” approach to education. That includes work on special education, child nutrition, behavioral health and other areas.

Before that, Siddens was ODE’s 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.

ODE officials said that before coming to the department, Siddens was an administrator in two Virginia school districts and did research and educational program evaluation at the College of Wooster and the University of Iowa, where she got her doctorate in educational psychology.

Siddens’ selection comes after a month-plus of turmoil.

ExploreFirst pick as interim superintendent resigned suddenly

DeMaria announced July 1 that he would retire as state superintendent in September, after five-plus years in the job. On July 13, after a strained debate, the state board named Deputy Superintendent John Richard to fill the interim superintendent role once DeMaria left.

But then on Aug. 10, Richard told the board he was resigning from ODE to become president of the Stark Education Partnership near Canton. As part of their resolution Monday, the state board rescinded Richard’s hiring as interim superintendent.

For the time Siddens spends as interim superintendent, her pay will be increased from $132,600 to $202,321.

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