The Rundown

ODE head seems headed for position at Upper Arlington

By: - April 10, 2023 2:07 pm

Stock image from Pixabay.

The Ohio Department of Education’s interim superintendent of public instruction is headed for a district-level position, resigning her state position, as confirmed by the school district and two legislators.

Dr. Stephanie K. Siddens
Photo by the Ohio Department of Education

Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Siddens resigned on Friday, according to state Sens. Bill Reineke and Andrew Brenner.

Siddens is reportedly headed to Upper Arlington City Schools to become deputy superintendent, pending board of education approval at an April 11 meeting.

The two legislators, who are leading an effort (Reineke as legislation sponsor and Brenner as chair of the Senate Education Committee) to restructure the ODE and change how Siddens job would be handled, released a joint statement Friday afternoon.

“I have nothing but respect for Interim Superintendent Siddens and appreciate her service as acting superintendent,” Reineke stated in an email to media. “It is clear however that the governing structure at the Ohio Department of Education does not work.”

Reineke, R-Tiffin, pointed to the lack of action by the State Board of Education to hire a candidate to fill the superintendent position permanently, something that has been in the works for years now.

The State Board of Education held back on even hiring a search firm for the position last year, blaming the hold up on confusion and uncertainty regarding Senate Bill 1, Reineke’s ODE restructuring bill.

The bill would rename the department the Ohio Department of Education and Workforce, and create deputy director positions for the two categories. In most recent amendments to the bill before the Ohio Senate passed the measure, the Senate Education Committee changed the public instruction superintendent role to act as an “advisor” to the deputy directors, if needed.

“This provides an opportunity for a new process and accountability that will be established under Senate Bill 1, which we need to pass immediately,” Brenner, R-Powell, said in wishing Siddens well in her new endeavor.

Dr. Robert Hunt, superintendent of Upper Arlington schools said Siddens “has an unparalleled knowledge of public education.”

If approved, Siddens will begin at the district this summer, according to a spokesperson for the district.

The ODE did not respond to a request for comment.



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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow (KY) Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.