We have yet to receive a thank you letter from Stan Heffner, but we know it will be in the mail soon.  Our post yesterday detailing the complaint we filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission obviously confirmed that Heffner is the most qualified man for this leadership position in Ohio.  Fortunately, we came along at just the right time to let the State Board of Education realize what they were about to overlook, as they abruptly took him behind closed doors into their executive session, interviewed him, then hired him with no opportunity for public discussion.  Board member Rob Hovis (originally appointed by Taft) abstained on the matter to show his objection, which is notable since Hovis represents Lake County where Heffner worked prior to joining the Department of Education.

In the news release from the Ohio Department of Education (damn, their website was updated quickly), Board President Debe Terhar said, “Stan Heffner has done a terrific job as interim superintendent and we are delighted he will continue to provide us with strong leadership.”

Terrific?  Seriously?  May 1, 2011 is when Heffner started as interim Superintendent; 10 full weeks of work.  I guess by “terrific,” Mrs. Terhar, President of the Hamilton County Republican Women’s Club is using a euphemism for “blindly followed the direction of the Governor in spite of factual evidence and common sense that would lead otherwise reasonable human beings to reach a different conclusion.”

I wonder what was going through Heffner’s mind when he was pulled in for the interview and subsequently offered the job.  Was he as surprised as the Dispatch reportedly was or did he know this was coming?

Let’s look at this through his lens.

May 2, 2011 from ODE’s EdConnection newsletter:

My primary mission is to clearly communicate how ODE can achieve its goals and to provide a smooth transition as the State Board of Education selects the next State Superintendent.

Between the lines: I’m not applying for the position because I already lined up a job with ETS two weeks ago.

This is the beginning of an important election week for many districts, with 148 school issues appearing tomorrow on ballots statewide. I wish those of you going before your voters the very best of luck as the polling takes place.

Means: You’re going to need it with the budget that I’m supporting.

May 9, 2011, EdConnection:

Also last week, the state budget continued to be revised as a substitute bill was introduced and passed by the House of Representatives. The bill will now move to the Ohio Senate and I will provide testimony on this legislation soon.

May 16, 2011, EdConnection:

Last Wednesday I testified before the Senate Finance Committee on the House-passed version of HB 153, the 2012-13 biennium budget bill. My testimony focused on the work conducted by ODE to prepare Ohio’s 1.8 million students to be ready for making successful college and career choices after high school graduation. Specifically, I highlighted the current work and new initiatives proposed in the bill around curriculum and assessment, the teaching profession, student supports and options, and accountability and intervention.

We actually referenced that testimony a couple of times.  In case you missed it, here’s the link again.

May 31, 2011, EdConnection:

Also last week, Gov. John Kasich posted an invitation to teachers to offer suggestions about how to structure a new performance-based evaluation and pay system. The Governor outlines his vision and invitation in a short video you can view online.

June 7, 2011, EdConnection:

Just as you are continuing to balance the solutions to fiscal challenges while maintaining and improving the learning opportunities to students, ODE also is evaluating the changes it must take to provide you service in light of the current financial reality.

June 13, 2011, EdConnection:

I encourage you to let us know how ODE can better support you and improve upon the services we provide. Looking at our challenges ahead, we recognize that service is our first priority.

Frankly, there isn’t much other than that.  Quite mundane actually.  Routine, banal, commonplace, day-to day, humdrum.  But terrific?  Inconceivable.

Looking through the State Board minutes and news releases to see if there was any prior mention of their intent to bring Stan Heffner into the mix yielded nothing. We would have expected that there would have been some sort of news release published on the State Board of Education website notifying the public that they were modifying their agenda and interviewing a new candidate this morning, but I guess that just doesn’t happen in Ohio.  Seems like the Wall Street Governor is privatizing things right under our noses.

So Mr. Heffner, you’re welcome.  And since those pesky ethics rules mean nothing, save the thank you letter and autographed photo, not like we have a foyer to display them in.  Instead, please send a few bottles of chardonnay, a few bottles of scotch (the good stuff), a case of Yuengling, and a 2-liter of Diet Coke.  We’ll handle sorting these out ourselves.

For our next act, Robert Mecklenborg will be replacing Batchelder as speaker of the Ohio House.  IF, and it’s a big if, he doesn’t get the Republican nomination for president.  Based on our work, I’d place your Meck ’12 t-shirt orders before they sell out.