Following an Ohio Inspector General report citing ethics law violations, Stan Heffner resigned from his position as State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The investigation found that Heffner had subverted state government operations by promoting legislation benefiting a private corporation that had made him a lucrative job offer and by requiring Ohio Department of Education (ODE) staff to perform “substantial” work on state time in support of his job transfer. Heffner gave testimony before the Ohio Senate Finance Committee during last year’s biennial budget debate in support of funding and provisions designed to increase the amount of competency testing of teachers in Ohio’s educational system, which could have potentially resulted in increased revenue to the corporation seeking to hire Heffner.
While Heffner originally stated his intention to stay on in his position, he soon thereafter submitted a letter to the State Board of Education announcing his retirement effective Friday, August 10. Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers will take over as interim state superintendent until the board identifies a permanent replacement. State Board President Debe Terhar said, regarding the timeline for the search for Heffner’s replacement, “There are so many things right now on our plate with education in Ohio that we need to take a measured approach to our search for superintendent. It should not be a rushed search. Whatever time it takes, it takes. If it takes a year, it takes a year.” The board plans to meet in a special session on August 20 to regroup and discuss next steps.