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West Liberty, OH

Heather O'Donnell placed on paid leave

Heather O'DonnellThe Midwest Regional Educational Service Center Board met in special session Friday morning to consider the employment status of Superintendent Heather O'Donnell.

The board suspended O'Donnell from all duties involving the care, custody, or control of a child.

The longtime superintendent was placed on paid administrative leave.

The board appointed Rick Smith as acting superintendent.

The board stated Smith is an experienced leader who can focus on the business of the ESC.

The board said, “The charges against Mrs. O'Donnell are horrible. The justice system will proceed and determine her guilt or innocence to these charges. Ohio law requires that we afford Mrs. O'Donnell with certain due process rights regarding her employment with the ESC. We are in the process of taking the next steps and anticipate moving forward regarding her employment in the near future.

“The ESC remains committed to our first priority - partnering with school districts to improve outcomes for students and families. We are committed to working with any member district, staff member, student, or family who has concerns about anything surrounding our ESC, including this issue.”

On Tuesday, Mrs. O'Donnell was indicted on two felony counts of child endangering.

The following day, O'Donnell was assigned to her home during regular work hours. She is not permitted on ESC property or at ESC activities.

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