Dackin resigns as state superintendent

COLUMBUS — After less than a month in the position, Steve Dackin resigned Friday as Ohio’s Superintendent of Public Instruction with the Department of Education. Conflict of interest concerns had surrounded Dackin since he had applied for the position in February, three days after resigning as the Ohio Board of Education’s vice president.

Board of Education President Charlotte McGuire issued the following statement about Dackin’s resignation:

“Today, I received notice from Stephen D. Dackin of his resignation from the position of superintendent of public instruction. Dr. Stephanie Siddens will serve as interim superintendent of public instruction effective immediately until the State Board can appoint her as Interim Superintendent at the Board’s June meeting. I am confident that together we will continue the important work in support of Ohio’s children, families and future.”

In his own statement, Dackin, who had been selected for this position on May 10, said, “It has been an honor to serve on the state board of education for the past several years.

“Concerns have been raised about my recent acceptance of the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction. I don’t want ‘revolving door’ questions to distract from the important work ahead for schools, educators, and especially the children. Children whose critical learning years have been disrupted by the pandemic need to be the focus of all our time, attention, and creativity.

“Therefore, I am resigning as Superintendent, effective immediately, and refusing any compensation for my service in that position, so the department can get on with building the educational future for the children of Ohio.”

Before applying for the position, for several months, Dackin was leading the process to fill the role left open by the resignation of former state superintendent Paolo DeMaria.

There are lingering questions among critics about the ethics of Dackin having access to material submitted by other applicants. Beginning Nov. 29 of last year, Dackin was in charge of the search on behalf of other state board members.

Dackin was selected as superintendent on May 10.

A graduate of Bath High School and Ohio Northern University, Dackin has more than 40 years of service in education. Dackin has experience in both post-secondary and Pre-K-12 education settings, having served as a school district superintendent, school principal and classroom teacher. He recently served as superintendent of School and Community Partnerships at Columbus State Community College and superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools prior to that. He was a previous finalist for the state superintendent’s job in 2011.