Steve Dackin. Photo from The Ohio Channel.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine nominated Steve Dackin to lead the new Department of Education and Workforce — despite Dackin’s previous ethics investigation during his less than two-week stint as state superintendent.
Dackin previously served as the vice president of the Ohio State Board of Education and had access to the job applications for the state superintendent position in 2022 after Paolo DeMaria retired in 2021.
In February 2022, Dackin resigned from the Ohio State Board of Education days before the application deadline and applied for the state superintendent position.
The State Board of Education voted Dackin for state superintendent on May 10, 2022, and he assumed office on May 23, 2022. In between those 13 days, the Ohio Ethics Commission opened an investigation into Dackin.
He resigned 11 days later on June 3, 2022, and signed a settlement with the Ohio Ethics Commission to avoid criminal prosecution in October 2022. Dackin did not take any compensation for the 11 days he was in charge of the Ohio Department of Education.
“Dackin has a broad base of experience that will benefit Ohio’s continued efforts to create a transformative education system that provides the resources and support for students and serves as a pipeline of talented young people to Ohio employers, colleges, universities, and career and technical education centers, helping every Ohioan live up to their God-given potential,” DeWine said in a statement Thursday afternoon announcing his pick.
The Director of the Department of Education and Workforce must be confirmed by the Ohio Senate.
DeWine’s appointment comes weeks after a Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge denied a preliminary injunction request to stop the transfer of power of K-12 education from the state school board to the governor’s office, which allowed the Ohio Department of Education to became the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce.
This created a cabinet-level director position and puts the department under the governor’s office.
The conservative think tank Fordham Institute’s Vice President for Ohio Policy and Advocacy Chad Aldis praised DeWine’s appointment of Dackin.
“Steve Dackin is a widely respected leader and educator who has served Ohio students for decades in a wide variety of roles including as a teacher, principal, and superintendent,” Aldis said in a statement.
The business coaltion Ohio Excels also celebrated DeWine’s appointment.
“We were proud to support him before and praise the governor for picking this talented, committed education leader to guide this new department at this critical time,” Lisa Gray, president of Ohio Excels, said in a statment.
Dackin was superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools from 2007-2014 and then worked as the superintendent of school and community partnerships for Columbus State Community College until December 2021.
He earned his undergraduate degree in history from Ohio Northern University and his master’s in educational administration from the University of Dayton.
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