ESC board hires Smith



Heather O’Donnell’s salary remains intact


Dr. Rick Smith


The Midwest Regional Eductional Service Center board voted to pay a temporary superintendent $200 a day while Heather O’Donnell is on paid leave.

Ohio Hi-Point Career Center Superintendent Rick Smith was hired for up to 90 days to manage the day-to-day operation of the three-county education organization whose regular superintendent has been charged with felony child endangering.

Board president Randy Sailor said the board wanted to investigate the matter and have further conversations with attorneys from the Ohio School Board Association before determining O’Donnell’s fate with the district.

She was charged by a grand jury last week with two counts of child endangering for failing to report sexual abuse against a child allegedly committed by her husband, Patrick O’Donnell, who is superintendent of the Indian Lake School District. He has been charged with four counts of first-degree felony rape, four counts of second-degree felony sexual battery, five counts of third-degree felony gross sexual imposition and a single count of fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition, and has been suspended without pay by the Indian Lake board.

Smith said he offered his services to lead the service center in the interim because the organization serves many of the same school districts as the career center.

“I wanted to make sure the ESC continues to operate properly and the home districts get the high quality services they deserve,” he said. “The Midwest Regional ESC is part of the Ohio Hi-Point family and that’s why I volunteered as a veteran superintendent to make sure things continue to remain stable here.”

He said he will continue to lead the career center as well as managing the ESC operation.

“I applaud the board for allowing me the opportunity to support one of our partner members,” Smith said. “It will be a lot of work and I will have to be efficient, but I should be able to manage both.”

The next regular meeting of the Midwest Regional ESC is set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 17, at Shelby County Midwest Regional ESC’s office, 129 E. Court St., Sidney, fourth floor.