School board network at 100 members

A unique Cincinnati-based training program for potential school board members named 22 members to its fifth class, bringing its network of aspiring school board members to more than 100 members in Greater Cincinnati.

Elisa Hoffman founded School Board School in 2018 through a People’s Liberty/Haile Foundation fellowship. The program includes a mix of half- and full-day sessions, beginning this month and continuing about 20 times through a graduation in June.

“COVID-19 highlighted how critical our school board members are, and it also demonstrated how important it is for constituents to understand this governing body in order to effectively advocate for their children and community,” said Hoffman, a former Cincinnati Public Schools board member.

“At the same time, as our public school systems are reeling from the effects of the pandemic, many school boards’ efforts to build equitable and inclusive school districts are under attack,” she said. “Our work at School Board School to build a diverse informed coalition of school board members and education advocates who work together to ensure every child can thrive is more urgent than ever, and we are excited to welcome our newest class into our network.”

To improve outcomes for children and build more just and equitable school systems, School Board School invests in the development of school district leaders and grassroots advocates who reflect the diversity of the community. 

Class 5 represents the geographic diversity of the region, hailing from 20 neighborhoods around Greater Cincinnati. The class ranges in age from 25 to 59, eighty-two percent of the class are people of color, almost sixty percent are women, and seventy-three percent are parents. The class can be seen here:

Class 5 members

Many of the class’ members have a deep understanding of education, including current K-12 teachers,

paraprofessionals, school leaders, and district administrators, as well as post-secondary program directors. School Board School also values having a diversity of professional experiences in each class because of the different perspectives they bring, and there are members working in a variety of fields including policy research, law enforcement and community organizing.

As Class 5 joins the School Board School network, there are now over 100 members working in roles across the region to expand opportunities for students. 

“Our members use the knowledge and network gained in School Board School’s learning program to lead in organizations and our community, run for office, and create new opportunities for students,” said Hoffman. “This includes members leading parent engagement work at Cincinnati Public Schools’ (CPS), two current CPS school board members, and more than a dozen members who have started new programs for students.”

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