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State Board of Education Members Woods and Miranda Prepare to Start Their Positions on the First

photo of Lisa Woods
Lisa Woods, one of five new Board of Education members, says she worries most about terrorists attacking classrooms.

The Ohio Board of Education will get six new members in 2017. The state board has 19 members, eight of whom are appointed by the governor. The others are elected to represent one of 11 districts in Ohio. 

Of the new members, some have as many as 40 years of experience in education, while others have none.

This year, three state Board of Education members left office due to term limits. One chose not to run for reelection, and one was defeated.  One other member resigned mid-term and his replacement will be chosen by Gov. John Kasich. 

Today we’ll hear from two new elected members.

Antoinette Miranda of Columbus has 35 years in the field, six as a school psychologist and the last 28 as a professor of school psychology at Ohio State.

Teaching the whole child
Miranda says she supports educating the whole child, meaning teachers must deal with the emotional and cultural issues that students bring to school.

“We know that poor kids come with poor literacy.  We’ve known that for years and yet most schools don’t have interventions ready and in place to tackle those issues as soon as a kid comes into kindergarten. Some of it is about money, but I think it’s also about having that initiative to look at what are the evidence-based practices,” Miranda says.  

While Miranda arrives with a lot of ideas,  the new member from District 5, Lisa Woods of Medina, says she has a lot to learn. Woods defeated incumbent Roslyn Painter-Goffi, a former teacher and librarian with 40 years’ experience.

Terrorism as a top concern
Woods has no professional background in education and says she needs to look beyond her mostly suburban district.

“What I’m learning now, like in the Appalachians,  wow, are they faced with something that District 5 doesn’t quite see. The poverty and the drugs, how do you, how does a school combat that? I mean really, it would be great if the teachers could just teach,” Woods said.

Woods and her late husband started a conservative citizens group in Medina County. She calls it a Tea Party group before the Tea Party. Her biggest concern for schools in Ohio is the threat of terrorist attack. Woods would like to see teachers trained in a program called Tactical Combat Casualty Care.

“Imagine if there’s an active shooter that’s gone from one room, and you may have five children bleeding, and is now is going on to other parts of the school and a teacher or faculty is in that room and there are kids bleeding. They may only have minutes,” Woods says.

Charter schools and standardized testing
One major topic for Ohio’s Department of Education is charter schools. Both Woods and Miranda sent their children to traditional public schools and question Ohio’s system of privately managed charters receiving local levy money. 

“It does make me question, absolutely. Maybe the formula for how that money is given and used, you know, could change,” Woods says.

Miranda says only about a quarter of charter schools do better than regular public schools.

"I feel like we’re throwing away money to experiments that have not proven successful. I think those schools that are very successful, we should applaud them, and we have a number of them in central Ohio. But we have way more that are failing the kids in Central Ohio."

The growth of standardized tests in Ohio concerns both Miranda and Woods. 

"We need to teach our children to learn, to love learning and not teach to a test,” Woods says.

And they question evaluating teachers by the test scores of their students. Miranda wonders whether high test scores will follow the highly rated teachers.

“If you put them in a poor school, would they come out the same. You would hope they would, but I’m not sure. And so are you measuring what the teacher can do or are you measuring the kids they’re teaching?”

Antoinette Miranda and Lisa Woods began their four-year terms on the State School Board Jan. 1.