Top Ohio Education Leader Quits amid Findings

Marion Herbert's picture
Monday, August 6, 2012

Ohio's top education official resigned Saturday amid ethical questions about his work for an educational testing contractor.

Stan Heffner's two-sentence letter was released by the state Education Department and said he would leave next Friday.

Gov. John Kasich said it was the right move. ''His mistakes in judgment were unfortunate, but I respect him for always putting Ohio's students above everything else, including his own interests,'' Kasich said in an emailed comment.

Deputy Superintendent Michael Sawyers will become acting superintendent.

No reason for his departure was given in the letter, but it came just days after a state watchdog's findings of wrongdoing against Heffner.

The report Thursday by Inspector General Randall Meyer found that Heffner was on the payroll of a Texas-based testing firm when he lobbied state lawmakers last year on a bill that benefited the company.

The IG report also found that Heffner misused his state email and cellphone to communicate with the testing firm, and assigned the executive secretary in his office at the Ohio Department of Education to schedule travel related to the job and handle paperwork related to the sale of his Ohio home and purchase of a replacement in Texas.

Heffner ultimately didn't take the job with Educational Testing Service because he was selected as Ohio's state superintendent.

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