Heather O’Donnell placed on voluntary unpaid leave

The Midwest Regional Educational Service Center approved Superintendent Heather O’Donnell’s request for a voluntary unpaid leave of absence at a meeting of the ESC governing board Thursday night.

O’Donnell was charged by a grand jury last month with two counts of child endangering for failing to report sexual abuse against a child allegedly committed by her husband, Patrick O’Donnell, while he was superintendent of the Indian Lake School District. 

She was suspended from her job July 14 and placed on paid administrative leave.

Rick Smith, superintendent of the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, has been retained at the rate of $200 a day to serve as acting ESC superintendent, and will continue to serve in that capacity during the search for an interim ESC head.

Rob Underwood has been named superintendent of the Indian Lake School District replacing Patrick O’Donnell. Underwood had been high school principal and served as interim superintendent at the beginning of the investigation into the allegation.