The Columbus Board of Education has two new members this year, both of whom say they look forward to fewer closed-door meetings and more open discussions about the issues.
"There's an opportunity for us to have a lot more discussion in the public arena, to provide insight to our constituents, the voters, our employees so they all understand our reasoning," says Carol Beckerle, a former special education teacher and Democrat.
Beckerle, who also served as an attorney for Westinghouse and General Electric, was elected to the board in November. She says she wants more focus on improving student achievement.
"There's a foundational way to address the behavior issues that we're facing," Beckerle says. "We're doing that here and there with some degree of success, but I think that the board needs to make sure that we fund enough training, enough support and we choose the correct programs and we do it with fidelity so that it can really get some traction."
The other new board member Tina Pierce, also a Democrat, is president of the Ohio State University Undergraduate Government Alumni Society. Pierce has also worked on several education-related committees in Columbus.
Pierce says she hopes to establish a board committee on academics.
"The second priority is to help to advance student learning in our district," Pierce says. "That's really centered around our academics to ensure that all of our students are learning the academic content, but that they're also learning life skills as well."
She adds that community engagement is key to getting things accomplished.
"Working with our businesses, non-profits and parents in a meaningful way, that they're also able to come to the table to help, to advance student learning in our district," Pierce says.
The Columbus Board of Education's first meeting of the year is Tuesday, January 7.