Stephen Dyer Named 2017-18   Hicks Executive in Residence


Stephen Dyer is currently the Education Policy Fellow at Innovation Ohio, a Columbus-based Progressive think tank, where he fights for the right of all Ohio’s children to receive a world-class education, regardless of where they live. He has authored several reports for IO that have sought to ensure the fundamental right of every Ohio child to a world-class education. He is widely considered one of the state’s top education policy experts, and one of the few people in the country with the experience of actually implementing and leading the debate on every major aspect of education reform from teacher quality to student achievement to school choice to equitable financing. He has been published in Education Week – the nation’s education policy newspaper of record, as well as The 74 and Real Clear Education. He recently spent a year as a fellow with the Education Policy Fellowship Program through the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, D.C. and served as part of an American delegation to observe the Chinese education system in Shanghai and Beijing.

Dyer also is a Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Akron, where he has received accolades for his classroom teaching.

Dyer has spent his career serving his community, first as an award-winning journalist with the Akron Beacon Journal, then as an award-winning State Representative representing Ohio’s Summit and Portage counties.

As a reporter for the Akron Beacon Journal for nine years, he reported on some of the most pressing issues of our time: government corruption, the fight against terrorism, the denial of legal rights, and crime against children. Dyer won awards and recognition from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press and the Cleveland Press Club. He collaborated on an innovative project called “Ohio: Look at the State We’re In” that analyzed where Ohio ranked on various quality of life issues. That collaboration earned Dyer and two other reporters nominations for the 2003 Pulitzer Prize.

After winning his seat in 2006 to represent the 43rd House District, Dyer fought tirelessly to once and for all fix our state’s school funding system. He spent two years developing his own system, then when Gov. Ted Strickland introduced the Ohio Evidence Based Model in 2009, Dyer was the chairman of the subcommittee that transformed the new system into one that earned the Frank Newman Award from the Education Commission of the States – recognizing the country’s most “bold, innovative, non-partisan” education reform of 2009. It remains the only school funding plan produced since the 1930s that promised to lower Ohio’s property taxes to pay for schools.

Dyer received the Leadership in Education Policy Award from the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding, which was the group that sued the state over its old, unconstitutionally funded system. He is the only Ohio legislator ever given an award from the group. He received the 2010 Friend of Public Education Award from the Ohio Federation of Teachers, the 2010 Public Service Award from the Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education, the 2009 Homer F. Mincy Award from the Alliance for Adequate School Funding (a group representing the state’s suburban districts), and the 2009 Civic Leadership Award from the Ohio Association for Gifted Children.

Dyer grew up in Hudson, Ohio, and attended Western Reserve Academy, where his parents taught. He graduated from Tufts University in Massachusetts with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, earned a Master’s Degree in journalism from Kent State University and a law degree from the University of Akron. He lives in Green with his wife of 16 years, Melissa, and his two sons, Logan, 10, and Carson, 6, both of whom attend Green Local Schools.

As part of his recognition as the Hicks Executive in Residence, Mr. Dyer will provide two presentations.  One, “School Choice: ECOT, Vouchers and Ohio’s White Whale” will be held March 20 from 12:00 to 2:00 pm in room 210 in McCracken Hall on the Ohio University campus.  This presentation is open to the public and a light lunch will be served.  The second presentation, “You Get What You Pay For: Common Sense Wisdom for Education Funding,” will be presented at the March CORAS meeting to be held March 21 at the Ohio University Inn.

The Hicks Executive In Residence Award is named for Emeritus Professor Samuel Hicks who provided an endowment to Ohio University in order to attract outstanding educational executives and leaders to the Ohio University Campus each year.    The program, a forum for recognizing and honoring outstanding leaders of America’s educational institutions,   has been carried out annually in the spring of each year since its beginning in 1976.  The 42 Executives in Residence have been leaders drawn from both the national scene and from Ohio.  Among others, the list includes past graduates of the Ohio University program in educational administration, Ohio Superintendents of Public Instruction, Directors of National Administrator Associations, CEO’s of National Foundations, nationally prominent school superintendents, administrators in the US Office of Education and well known authors and educational researchers.


Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools

An Advocate For Ohio’s Rural Appalachian School Children For Over Two Decades

CORAS logo

The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools, in partnership with the Ohio University College of Education, is an organization composed of 136 school districts, institutions of higher learning and other educational agencies in the 35-county region of Ohio designated as Appalachia. School districts in neighboring counties, institutions of higher education and related organizations may become members of the Coalition. The Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools is under the governance structure of a Regional Council of Governments and is funded through membership dues and support from the Ohio University College of Education.

The Coalition’s Mission and Goals


The mission of the Coalition of Rural and Appalachian Schools is to advocate for and support the public schools of Appalachia Ohio in the continuous improvement of educational opportunities available to all the region’s children. This statement of mission acknowledges that the region’s public schools are an integral part of the public education system for Ohio and that the Coalition may support and join with similar efforts throughout the State to improve the educational opportunities for all children.


1. To seek equity in Ohio’s system of school funding and adequacy of educational opportunity for all of Ohio’s children.

2. To support the continuous development of educational leadership throughout the region’s public school systems.

3. To identify and analyze policy issues that impact the effectiveness, strength, and character of the public school system and to formulate and communicate position statements in response to these issues.

4. To sponsor and promote the use of research and to share successful practices for improving educational opportunities for all children in the CORAS region.