Ohio’s new chief of K-12 education resigns, citing ‘revolving door’ questions

Steve Dackin. He was elected vice president of the Ohio State Board of Education on Nov. 15, 2021.

Steve Dackin. He was elected vice president of the Ohio State Board of Education on Nov. 15, 2021.

Ohio’s new superintendent of public instruction Steve Dackin resigned Friday – less than a month after he was selected to oversee the education of Ohio’s 1.7 million K-12 students.

Dackin, in a resignation letter, cited concerns about his recent selection to the role. Dackin, while serving as school board vice president, led the search for the position that he ultimately was selected for.

“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 the children.”

Ohio ethics laws prohibit board members from accepting any benefit, including compensation, from a contract authorized by a board they served on either during their term or for one year after they leave the board, said Paul Nick, executive director of the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Dackin resigned from the state board on Feb. 25  and applied for the superintendent position a few days later. Confidentiality laws prohibit Nick from commenting on whether or not there was an investigation into Dackin’s selection.

On May 10, the State Board of Education selected Dackin in a 14-4 vote. He previously served as the superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools between 2007 and 2014 and on the State Board of Education

Dackin’s salary was set at $215,000 with the possibility of an annual performance bonus of $35,000. Dackin, in his letter, said he would forgo any compensation for the work he had done to date.

State Board of Education President Charlotte McGuire announced Dackin’s resignation in a Friday afternoon news release, which did not detail why he was leaving.

“I am confident that together we will continue the important work in support of Ohio’s children, families and future,” McGuire said in the news release.

Gov. Mike DeWine, through a spokesman, said he was “surprised and disappointed” by Dackin’s decision to resign but respected Dackin’s decision to avoid being a distraction from important work on topics like literacy, mental health and helping children achieve their “God-given potential.”

Stephanie Siddens will serve as superintendent of public instruction in the interim. She temporarily held the position after Paolo DeMaria retired in September 2021. 

Steve Dackin resignation letter by Jessie Balmert on Scribd

Reporter Anna Staver contributed to this article. 

Jessie Balmert is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Akron Beacon Journal, Cincinnati Enquirer, Columbus Dispatch and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio’s new K-12 education chief resigns after less than 1 month on the job