Two local superintendents apply to lead Ohio Department of Education

Both Shannon Cox, current superintendent of the Montgomery County Education Services Center, and Larry Hook, superintendent of Springboro Schools, have applied for the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Ohio Department of Education. File photos

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Both Shannon Cox, current superintendent of the Montgomery County Education Services Center, and Larry Hook, superintendent of Springboro Schools, have applied for the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the Ohio Department of Education. File photos

Two local school superintendents — Shannon Cox of the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, and Larry Hook of Springboro Schools — have applied for the top job with the Ohio Department of Education.

The state superintendent of public instruction is the top administrator for ODE, which oversees the school funding system, develops academic standards, manages state achievement tests and school report cards, and handles licensing of teachers and other education personnel.

The superintendent is appointed by the State Board of Education, which accepted applications for the position through March 1. ODE officials said 28 people applied.

Cox leads the Montgomery County ESC, which is effectively the county’s school district. It employs 480 people and oversees everything from helping special needs students who have exhausted all their local schools’ efforts to coordinating vaccine clinics in area districts.

Cox serves as a liaison between local schools, city and county governments, public health, philanthropic groups and others. She became ESC superintendent in August 2019.

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Cox’s three-year contract with the ESC has already been renewed, and she said she told her board of education about the application in January when she applied. The original deadline for the ODE job was Dec. 31, but was extended to March 1.

Cox said she felt she could change things at the state level for the good. She initially did not want the job, but once she thought about it more, she felt it was a good opportunity.

“It kind of dawned on me really, as I reflect over the last two years, that we’ve been through a lot, and there is great opportunity to be the architects of what education could and should look like,” Cox said.

Cox said she planned to remain in her current position if she does not get the ODE job.

“I love what I’m doing here,” she said of her current work at the MCESC. “So if it doesn’t work out, it’s no harm, no foul.”

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Hook assumed the Springboro superintendent role in August 2020 after serving as the superintendent of Carlisle Local Schools for 10 years. Hook did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the ODE application.

Hook received his Masters of Education from Xavier University and previously served in Milford Exempted Village Schools, according to the Springboro schools website.

Many of the people who submitted their names for the ODE job are superintendents, former superintendents or former charter school administrators.

Ohio’s current interim superintendent of public instruction is Stephanie K. Siddens, who assumed office on Sept. 25, 2021. She replaced Paolo DeMaria, who was state superintendent for the last five years before he retired in 2021, eventually becoming president and CEO of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE).

Siddens, who until 2021 served as ODE’s senior executive director of the Center for Student Supports, did not apply for the superintendent job.

A full list of the people who applied:

  • Broadnax, Rodriguez
  • Cox, Shannon
  • Dackin, Stephen
  • Della Flora, Olympia
  • Douglas, Lindy
  • Duncan, Richard
  • Edmonson, Benjamin
  • Ford-Taylor, India
  • Fulkerson, Richard
  • Grimm, Michelle
  • Hook, Larry
  • Hosler, Thomas
  • Judkins, Jennifer
  • Laursen, Finn
  • McClary, Dewayne
  • Middleton, Crystal
  • Moon, Teresa
  • Moore, Jonathan
  • Paska, Lawrence
  • Peske, Heather
  • Pfeiffer, John
  • Quattrochi, David
  • Richey, Kimberly
  • Sabonente, Zito Daniel
  • Schroeder, Richard
  • Stellar, Art
  • Tarchichi, Ronnie
  • Tashfeen, Asheer

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