Ohio’s top schools job isn’t about maintaining status quo

What if you needed a new state superintendent of schools and no one had applied for the job?

That might be a good thing.

Ohio has had an opening since Dec. 31, when former Superintendent Richard Ross retired. Associate Superintendent Lonny Rivera has been filling in, but has said he does not want the position permanently.

In seeking a new superintendent, board members set an April 8 deadline for applications. By this week, no one had applied, though there reportedly had been some inquiries.

It is not as though the job is not well-compensated. The base salary is $195,000 a year and there has been talk of increasing it.

But leadership of Ohio’s public schools comes with a plateful of challenges, too. They range from improving school quality to ensuring education officials tell the truth about performance.

That may have something to do with why the state board has not received applications for the top job.

If so, good. This is not a position for those not willing to tackle tough issues, some of them political. It is not a job for someone wedded to the old education bureaucracy, or for someone reluctant to step on toes.

Ohioans need a top-notch public education leader, not someone accustomed to the old go-along-to-get-along mentality. They need someone eager to shake things up for the good of the Buckeye State.

Eventually, that person can be found – and state board members should make that, not meeting their June timeline, their priority.