Ohio has a brand new prime educator, once more.
The state board of training picked Stephanie Siddens to function interim state superintendent. She’s at present a senior government director for the Ohio Division of Schooling, and she or he’s the second particular person to be provided the momentary gig.
The primary appointee, Deputy State Superintendent John Richard, announced his own departure lower than a month after he accepted the place in July.
“I am very honored and thrilled to be right here to assist the division throughout this transition,” Siddens mentioned.
However she could also be in for a rocky trip.
The Ohio State Board of Schooling has 19 members (11 elected and eight appointed by the governor). Their job is to deal with a long-term imaginative and prescient for public training. Virtually talking, which means they develop pointers, instructional requirements and strategic plans. The superintendent then takes these insurance policies to state lawmakers and native educators.
“I don’t assume the political challenges of being superintendent have ever been more durable,” former Republican state Sen. Peggy Lehner mentioned.
The state superintendent is the general public face of training in a state that is grown more and more divided over points like masks in faculties, distant studying through the pandemic and critical race theory.
“The whole lot is extra polarized than anybody has ever seen it, and training is not any completely different,” Lehner mentioned.
Neither she nor Sen. Andrew Brenner, the present chair of the Senate’s Ok-12 training committee, knew whether or not the board may coalesce round a single candidate to interchange outgoing Superintendent Paolo DeMaria.
DeMaria was elected unanimously again in Could 2016, however Brenner mentioned that was partly as a result of nobody actually knew the place he stood on numerous training points.
“There have been lots of unknowns with Paolo,” Brenner mentioned. “Now we have had lots of adjustments in 5 years, and pupil tutorial efficiency is just not one in all them.”
The Delaware Republican needs to see a state superintendent who would take a transparent place on whether or not the state’s strategic plan – which DeMaria shepherded into existence – permits faculties to show subjects like CRT.
“That’s the place a state superintendent can clean over these varieties of points, and I don’t assume that has occurred,” Brenner mentioned.
A gaggle of state board members agreed and tried to take away language from the decision to rent Siddens that directed her to comply with the strategic plan.
“I really feel abandoning all the strategic plan for all the division of wducation is an affront to our youngsters and academics …,” Board Member Michelle Newman mentioned. It is “extremely irresponsible and never the proper transfer in any respect.”
And Ohio Schooling Affiliation President Scott DiMauro mentioned he wasn’t certain what to make of the board’s battle over what he known as DeMaria’s “best accomplishment.”
“Paolo united folks from throughout the ideological spectrum. I hope we discover a consensus candidate,” DiMauro mentioned. “But when they’ll quibble over language like that, I am undecided they’ll come to an settlement.”
Anna Staver is a reporter for the USA TODAY Community Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 different affiliated information organizations throughout Ohio.