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Ohio Senate approves new director for overhauled education department

Ohio’s recently revamped education department has a new director, approved by the Republican-majority Senate on Wednesday.

Steve Dackin, who will head the new Department of Education and Workforce, was already appointed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine earlier this month, but required the final go-ahead from upper chamber lawmakers.

Dackin said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press that he was both honored and excited to lead the department, adding that with the governor, they “have a significant opportunity to shape the outcome for Ohio’s students and families, the future workforce and, ultimately, the success of our state and its residents.”

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Dackin attended the University of Dayton and has a master’s degree in education administration. He is a former teacher, principal, Reynoldsburg school superintendent, superintendent of school and community partnerships for Columbus State Community College and vice president for the State Board of Education.

He’s also the former state superintendent of public instruction, a role that headed the previous Ohio Department of Education. However, he resigned 11 days into the job following the launch of an ethics investigation into his professional conduct.

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Ohio has given a new director final approval to lead its restructured education department.

The Ohio Ethics Commission investigated Dackin for ethics violations after his resignation as the vice president of the state board. He then applied for the state superintendent position. Dackin had been in charge of the search committee looking for a new superintendent, then resigned from the board and applied for the job himself.

Dackin reached a settlement with the ethics commission, did not take pay for the 11 days he was in office and participated in ethics training.

The new director’s confirmation comes in the midst of a lawsuit claiming the overhaul of the education department, passed earlier this summer through the state’s budget, is unconstitutional, and asked for an injunction to stop the new department from going into effect.

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The injunction was ultimately denied, but the lawsuit is still making its way through the Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

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