our history

Making a difference in Ohio’s schools for over 100 years

What are today’s ESCs were established in 1914 through an act of the Ohio General Assembly – “The Rural School Code Act.”

The law created 88 “County School Districts” and charged them with the task of “elevating the state’s system of education to a proper standard.” This effort entailed county office staff members drafting courses of study for school systems, providing in-service training for teachers, and assuring quality classroom instruction through supervision and evaluation.

The role of the county offices of education evolved and expanded over the next several decades. In the 1930’s, they began assisting districts with fiscal and purchasing services; later in the 1960’s, their responsibilities expanded again as they began operating special education programs and increased professional development and technical assistance for schools.

In 1995, Am. Sub. H.B. 117 changed the role of the “County School Districts” by redefining their responsibilities and renaming them “Educational Service Centers” – a statutory name change intended to reflect the evolving nature of ESC programs and services. The law also encouraged county offices to merge into regional agencies.

Hamilton County Superintendents

Thomas Pierce 1914-1917

Pliny Johnson 1917-1923

OH Bennett 1923-1948

Charles Crouch 1948-1962

John Wilson 1962-1971

Arnold Collins 1971-1981

Ralph Sinks 1981-1989

Jim Hyre 1989-1994

Dave Distel 1994-2019

Chad Hilliker 2019-current

Skip to content