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New "School Board School" Tutors School Board Hopefuls

Courtesy People's Liberty
Elisa Hoffman says school board members are expected to hit the ground running once they take office. Her project aims to help them be ready.

A former Cincinnati Public Schools board member is hoping to educate future board members. Elisa Hoffman says there are lots of groups focused on recruiting political candidates, but not many efforts to make people effective once they're in office. Hoffman's created a course she says will fill the gap.

"The idea behind School Board School was making sure that before you even sit down in that role, you know 'What is this role, and why do I want to serve my community?'" Hoffman explains. "And then, 'How do I even do it effectively?'"

The six-month program is for people who are planning to run for the CPS board in the next three years.

Hoffman served one term on the CPS board, starting in Janury 2014. 

"And really, there's no time for a learning curve," she says. "When I think about my own time, we were re-negotiating our contracts with all of our unions. That's one of the most important things we're going to do in our term, and it started Day One."

Hoffman says School Board School will feature diverse perspectives, with current and former school board members, along with people from other educational backgrounds, scheduled to present. 

"We also have a UC educational school professor. We have somebody from Cincinnati State. There's somebody who works with foundations in the education sphere," she says. "So we really are looking to make sure we're bringing in broad and diverse perspectives for our participants to learn from."

Hoffman says if board members are better equipped for the task of leading the district, students will benefit.

Applications open Wednesday at schoolboardschool.org.

There are three information sessions scheduled as well:

  • June 7 and 13, 5:30 p.m. at People's Liberty, 1805 Elm Street
  • June 18, 6:30 p.m. at Junior League, 3500 Columbia Parkway

School Board School is supported by People's Liberty.