Our new Superintendent of Public Instruction is Paolo DeMaria; the State Board of Education selected him unanimously in open session on Wednesday, following two days of closed interviews. I wish him well as he begins his duties.
Having discharged part of the their responsibility to the people of Ohio by choosing the next Superintendent, the Board now returns to its regular task of holding him accountable.
In my notes on the candidates, I posted: “Paolo DeMaria: Seems human, not a lot of technical jargon. Some of his consulting work has involved charter schools; I would want to make sure that he’s not enamored of privatization.” All in all, he may not have been my first choice, but he definitely wasn’t among my last.
Based on what we know of his policy background, he will be an uncomfortable choice for those like me who are champions of public schools. Since candidates were interviewed in executive session, we can’t know what the Board learned; but it is a hopeful sign that he seems to have emerged as a sort of unconventional consensus candidate, as recounted by The Plain Dealer‘s Patrick O’Donnell.
In his letter of application, he referred to himself as a “servant leader,” which suggests that his administration will not be about him; and signs indicate that he will be open to dialogue with Ohio’s complicated education community.
As with any new Superintendent, the State Board of Education will need to hold him to those commitments. That’s what I plan to do if the voters of District 11 elect me to the term that begins January 1.
This post originally appeared on the website of my 2016 campaign for State Board of Education, http://bill4board.us.