School & District Management

Ethics Accusation Fired at New State Schools Chief

By Catherine Candisky, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT) — July 19, 2011 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Less than a week after being named state schools superintendent, Stan W. Heffner is fending off accusations of ethical misconduct.

A Democratic lawmaker yesterday asked Inspector General Randy Meyer to launch an investigation into whether Heffner improperly tried to steer state business to a company for which he planned to work.

Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Athens, said Heffner, while serving as interim state superintendent and after accepting a job with Educational Testing Services, advocated for legislation that would have benefited the company, which provides certification tests for Ohio teachers.

“Mr. Heffner gave testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in support of legislation that likely meant significant revenues for his new employer. This official action on his part seems to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of Ohio’s ethics law,” Phillips wrote in a letter to Meyer.

Heffner yesterday denied any wrongdoing.

“I am confident that I have no conflict of interest and am working to move the Ohio Department of Education forward. I am committed to full transparency and welcome ongoing review,” he said in a statement released by his office.

Heffner has been an associate superintendent of the state agency since 2004. He was named interim superintendent in May after Deborah Delisle resigned, and was to leave in August to take a job with Educational Testing Services in Texas. Last week, Heffner decided to stay when the state board offered him the superintendent’s post permanently.

The inspector general’s office had no comment about Phillips’ complaint. As a general rule, the office does not confirm or deny whether it has received a complaint or whether it will conduct an investigation, said Deputy Inspector General Carl Enslen.

Phillips did not return messages left at her legislative office yesterday.

At issue is testimony Heffner gave in May before the Senate Finance Committee supporting the budget bill. Specifically, he told lawmakers he favored provisions to retest teachers in low-performing schools and discussed how other provisions in the legislation matched a new teacher evaluation model the Education Department was developing.

He did not mention that the proposals could benefit the company he was planning to join.

When the issue surfaced last week, Heffner said he had not been involved in the work Educational Testing Services had done with the Education Department. Since 2007, the company has handled teacher testing overseen by the agency’s Center for the Teaching Profession.

The Education Department said Heffner was in charge of its Center for Curriculum and Assessment, which is not involved in teacher testing. In 2006, Educational Testing Services bid to work on the Ohio Graduation Test, which Heffner oversaw, but was not awarded the contract.

The liberal blog Plunderbund last week filed a similar complaint against Heffner with the Ohio Ethics Commission.

Copyright (c) 2011, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Reframing Behavior: Neuroscience-Based Practices for Positive Support
Reframing Behavior helps teachers see the “why” of behavior through a neuroscience lens and provides practices that fit into a school day.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Math for All: Strategies for Inclusive Instruction and Student Success
Looking for ways to make math matter for all your students? Gain strategies that help them make the connection as well as the grade.
Content provided by NMSI

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion 3 Steps for Culturally Competent Education Outside the Classroom
It’s not just all on teachers; the front office staff has a role to play in making schools more equitable.
Allyson Taylor
5 min read
Workflow, Teamwork, Education concept. Team, people, colleagues in company, organization, administrative community. Corporate work, partnership and study.
Paper Trident/iStock
School & District Management Opinion Why Schools Struggle With Implementation. And How They Can Do Better
Improvement efforts often sputter when the rubber hits the road. But do they have to?
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management How Principals Use the Lunch Hour to Target Student Apathy
School leaders want to trigger the connection between good food, fun, and rewards.
5 min read
Lunch hour at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West in Albertville, Minn.
Students share a laugh together during lunch hour at the St. Michael-Albertville Middle School West in Albertville, Minn.
Courtesy of Lynn Jennissen
School & District Management Opinion Teachers and Students Need Support. 5 Ways Administrators Can Help
In the simplest terms, administrators advise, be present by both listening carefully and being accessible electronically and by phone.
10 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty