Ohio Education Board President visits Mayfield Schools


Superintendent Dr. Keith Kelly speaks with Ohio Board of Education president Tess Elshoff, who visited from Columbus.

By Alex Tramontano, Mayfield High School

The Ohio Department of Education Board President, Tess Elshoff, visited Mayfield Schools earlier this week. Elshoff has plans for the future of public education.

Tess Elshoff was recently elected as the Ohio Department of Education Board President in Jan. 2017. The change of office, though still the same party, brings about a change in personality and approach towards the future of Ohio public education.

Elshoff’s two-year plan is to “develop better relationships with school districts and the department of education and the legislature to make it more of a thoughtful and better implemented transition from creating law and implementing law between the three entities,” she said.

The Ohio Department of Education has a wide variety of priorities when it comes to issues pertaining to education as a whole. The main focus of the department is, as Elshoff said, “Making education the best it can be in the state of Ohio, and not only in the state of Ohio but in the country. Looking at what we have and seeing what works and what doesn’t and seeing how to make it better.”

Another one of the Department of Education’s goals is to have better communication. “Just having a better open communication with the field of the districts and the department and [to see] how things impact them and what needs to be changed,” Elshoff said.

However, even though the Department of Education may have certain goals, the department still must abide by the path set by the legislature. Elshoff said, “But ultimately, at the end of the day, we have to react and we have to change our course per the legislatures of what bills come out of there and how they direct us to what our most important thing is.”

A big topic of discussion within the Department of Education is standardized testing in public schools. Elshoff believes that standardized testing, in regards to graduation requirements and overall helpfulness, require improvements. Elshoff said, “We are currently meeting with stakeholder groups across the state and school districts asking what tests they’d like to see a reduction in so we can ask the legislatures to do that for us.”

Another area where the department intends to improve upon in the future is graduation requirements. Elshoff said, “In regards to graduation requirements we put together a work group bringing superintendents, principals… board members, parents, students together to reevaluate if that is a good pathway of if it needs to be improved upon.”

Elshoff’s background in public education helps her make decisions as board President. Elshoff served on the New Knoxville Local School Board of Education until 2011, and was also a board member of many different organizations varying from New Knoxville Garden Club to the Education Board at Holy Rosary School in St. Marys, just to name a few.

Elshoff also has five kids of her own that are in all avenues of school, and she attributes her ability to grasp a true understanding of how her decisions really affect students by seeing what impact they have on her own children. Elshoff said, “I look at things how they happen at my kitchen table. I have a diverse learning around my kitchen table. I have gifted children and I have IEP children. So just looking at everything at how it affects my children and what the impacts would be if we put something into place.”

Elshoff was introduced to the many different technical programs at Mayfield while on her tour.

Superintendent of Mayfield City School District, Keith Kelly, along with principal of Excel TECC Nathan Bishko, led the tour, which consisted of visits to the high school and Excel TECC wing, followed by a tour of Lander Elementary, and then of the Mayfield Middle School Science and Robotics programs.

Read the original story here.