LIMA — Frequently finding herself in the minority on a board largely picked by Gov. John Kasich, Ann Jacobs has an opponent in seeking a second term on the state school board.
Jacobs, a Lima attorney, will face off for the District 1 seat against Stanley Jackson, of Marion. He is also a Kasich appointment.
“There was a great big group appointed by the governor and ever since that happened they seem to vote as a block for whatever the governor wants to have happen,” Jacobs said.
Kasich appointed Jackson, a television sports commentator and former Ohio State University football player, to fill the remaining six months of board member Dennis Reardon’s at-large term. Appointed by former Gov. Ted Strickland, Reardon recently resigned. Jackson says he is on the board and wants to continue for his own four children and others around the state.
“I am not there for the governor, I am not there for teachers. I am not there for people in the community other than the children who are attending the schools,” he said. Jackson said he had planned to run for the seat before the appointment.
The 19-member board includes eight at-large members appointed by the governor and 11 elected from specific districts. Seven of the eight appointed members were appointed by Kasich.
Jacobs, a former Shawnee school board member, took 65 percent of the votes four years ago when running against a teacher in Van Wert. The district includes 24 counties. Jacobs’ mother, Virginia Jacobs, served on the board for 26 years. While she said it has been a tough couple years on the board, Jacobs is committed to staying.
“I feel that people who want to do the right thing should be on the board,” she said, adding that she believes Jackson, who once spoke of running for a county commissioner seat in Marion County, is not committed to education. “He wants to get attention. He has now decided he wants a career in politics and this is a stepping stone.”
Jackson’s appointment has garnered a lot of attention. He had to resign from being president of a charter school board geared toward African American males. It has not yet opened. Jackson said his appointment gives him the fast track to learning the job. It is a great opportunity, he said, to be a part of educational change.
“My goal is simple, to make sure there is common sense in the room at all times and that when our kids graduate, they have options,” he said, adding that he is a listener and always willing to hear other viewpoints.
Jacobs doesn’t believe Jackson necessarily has the qualifications to be on the board, saying he hasn’t served on any boards and didn’t graduate from college. She believers her board and law experience makes her a good representative. She is most proud of the work the board has done to develop rigourous and relevant academic content standards.
“Each and every meeting, I think I have made a right choice,” she said. “I think my law background has really enabled me to make better, informed decisions.”