The State Board of Education voted March 12 to select Dr. Richard Ross to be the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Ohio’s top education official and the executive in charge of the Ohio Department of Education.
The state superintendent runs the Ohio Department of Education, an independent state agency, and reports to the State School Board, a body of independent elected and appointed officials. In the position, Ross will oversee Ohio’s support, accountability and coordination efforts for the state’s elementary and secondary education system, which serves approximately 1.8 million students and employs roughly 190,000 educators.
The Ohio Department of Education plays a central role in developing and implementing state education policy and is working on a large number of major initiatives, including implementation of the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Assessments, implementation of a new teacher evaluation system, and the unveiling of a new Local Report Card.
“Dick Ross has deep experience on the frontlines of education and has distinguished himself by his child-first approach. He proved that with his outstanding leadership in Reynoldsburg and he’s proven that in his work in the Governor’s Office of 21st Century Education, where he’s helped shape education reform,” said State Board President Debe Terhar. “We are delighted he will provide us with strong leadership as we move forward with the important work of the Ohio Department of Education.”
The State Board of Education, working with a search firm, received 32 applications for the position and interviewed four candidates. Legislative education committee chairs Senator Peggy Lehner and Rep. Gerald Stebelton sat on the search committee, as did Jai Chabria from the Governor’s Office.
Dr. Ross has more than 60 years of education experience, having served for 20 years as superintendent of Reynoldsburg City Schools where he oversaw the operation of a district that earned “Excellent” or “Effective” ratings on their Local Report Cards the final eight years that Ross served the district. In his final year, eight of 10 buildings in Reynoldsburg City Schools were rated “Excellent” or “Excellent with Distinction.”
While at Reynoldsburg, the district built four new buildings and renovated six buildings while working within funding guidelines of the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission. Ross concentrated on serving children by improving the district’s efficiency and performance, eliminating unpopular and/or ineffective programs, and making focused staffing decisions.
In addition, Ross maintained low expenses, responded to the community’s changing cultural and economic conditions, championed open enrollment, improved the learning environment, and increased parent involvement by offering regularly scheduled events at the elementary and middle schools.
Ross previously was superintendent at Bryan City Schools and Ottawa-Glandorf Schools, was an instructor at Bowling Green State University and served as high school principal at Jonathan Alder School District.
He also served as chairman of the Youngstown Academic Distress Commission and was an instructor for the Ohio University Educational Leadership Program.
He currently serves as director of Governor John Kasich’s Office of 21st Century Education, where he has successfully moved several education initiatives through the legislative process. These include the Cleveland Transformation Plan, the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, revisions to the Teacher and Principal Evaluation Systems, and the A-F Local Report Card. He also has been involved in the development of the State Education Budget and the School Funding Model.
“I’m grateful to the board for the confidence they’ve shown in me with this appointment,” Ross said. “It’s a big job because it’s an important one undefined shaping the future of Ohio’s boys and girls. It’s a mission to which I’ve devoted my life and I’m excited to embrace the challenges that we’re facing.”
“The Department’s employees are deeply committed to serving Ohio’s children and my goal is to be a leader worthy of their commitment,” Ross added. “Helping all children achieve and reach their potential, regardless of their circumstance, is our mission and I look forward to working together with Ohio’s education community to build the world-class education system Ohio’s children deserve and which Ohio needs.”
Ross begins his new role on March 25, 2013.