Published Online: May 8, 2012
Published in Print: May 9, 2012, as Former Ohio Chief Moves to Ed. Dept.

Policy Brief

Former Ohio Chief Moves to Ed. Dept.

Deborah Delisle, who served as Ohio's schools chief, has been confirmed as the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the U.S. Department of Education.

Ms. Delisle was the Buckeye State's superintendent from 2008 to 2011 under then-Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat. Ohio received a $400 million federal Race to the Top grant during her tenure. But she was essentially forced to leave by Republican Gov. John Kasich, who was elected in 2010.

Mr. Kasich felt that it was "absolutely critical to have someone in [the state chief's] position who shares Gov. Kasich's views on education," his spokeswoman, Connie Wehrkamp, said at the time.

Ms. Delisle brings another state chief's voice to the Education Department, joining Alexa Posny, a former Kansas education commissioner who is now the assistant secretary overseeing special education. Ms. Delisle began her career as an elementary teacher in Connecticut and worked as a superintendent in the Cleveland Heights-University Heights City school district in Ohio.

Deborah Delisle

As a superintendent, she established a 1-to-1 laptop program, giving every student in grades 6-12 access to the technology. And she helped transform a comprehensive high school into five smaller learning communities.

She also served in such district roles in Ohio as director of academic services, director of curriculum and professional development, and coordinator of gifted and talented programs.


In what may be a hint of the likely working relationship with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Ms. Delisle told National Public Radio's State Impact blog that she likes his emphasis on children.

"So often as the state superintendent, I would hear information coming out of the U.S. Department of Education that talked about kids," she said. "And that's obviously central to all the work that we do."

Vol. 31, Issue 30, Page 21

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