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New Director of Secondary Curriculum
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Reprinted courtesy of the Westerville News & Public Opinion/SNP

ęCopyright Suburban News Publications, Columbus, Ohio, 2003

Originally published September 2003

New curriculum director brings statewide perspective

By JOHN SHERIDAN

There is a new director of secondary education in town.

Steve Dackin takes over as the Westerville school district's executive director of secondary curriculum and instruction from Todd Meyer, who left the position to open new Westerville Central High School as its first principal.

Dackin comes to the district with an impressive resume and said his focus will be on improvement.

Dackin, 46, is fresh off a two-year stint at the Ohio Department of Education, where he served as director of regional school improvement services. Prior to his time with the ODE Dackin served as principal of Reynoldsburg High School from 1995 to 2001.

He has the enthusiasm of a first-year teacher, as he talks about programs he has been involved with and monitored in his time with the state.

In his position with the ODE he traveled extensively throughout the state, studying different schools to determine what worked and what didn't. Some things that seemed to work across the board, Dackin said, were smaller class sizes, and smaller leaning communities.

In this regard Westerville is ahead of the curve. The district is entering the third year of its three-year federal smaller learning community grant, and Dackin's views on smaller learning communities in school are right in line with work already started in the district.

When there is a smaller school all students feel connected, Dackin said, and they can, and should, have at least one adult in the school and greater community they can turn to.

"Smaller learning communities are a vehicle to ensure kids are prepared past their high school experience," he said.

Maximizing time spent in high school is also a priority for Dackin. He is interested in integrating high school and college credit into students' junior and senior years.

There are no concrete plans to go ahead with such a program, but it is "something worthy of conversation and dialogue," he said. "We are constantly looking to raise the bar."

Westerville South High School's International Baccalaureate program is a great example of this, he said.

Culture, and its needs and expectations have changed since he went high school, almost 30 years ago, said Dackin with a mock grimace.

"Information is the new natural resource. Students needs skill and knowledge to become productive citizens," he said.

Not only have society's needs changed, but today there is a greater understanding of how students learn. Smaller learning communities and variable use of time are an integral part of learning. He said seven or eight 50-minute classes might no longer be appropriate for students.

Can you "imagine having seven or eight different bosses throughout the day?" he asked.

Dackin is married to wife Susan, a teacher in Reynoldsburg at Taylor Station Elementary School. He has two daughters, Jessica who is in ninth-grader at Reynoldsburg High School, and Erika, a seventh-grader in the Reynoldsburg City School District.

 

 

Read more Central Ohio community news at www.SNPonline.com

 

Westerville Voters On Target for Education