Hofmann challenges Kilgore for state school board seat

Warren County voters will choose between longtime teachers for state education role

A longtime Cincinnati public school teacher is challenging an incumbent member of the State Board of Education in November’s election for the District 4 seat that represents Hamilton and Warren counties.

Incumbent Jenny Kilgore has served one term and can serve up to two. Katie Hofmann, a former Cincinnati public school teacher, is challenging her.

The state school board oversees the Ohio Department of Education. The board is made up of 19 members, with 11 elected and eight appointed members. Members serve four-year terms and are paid an hourly rate for board work, amounting to roughly $10,000 per year.

The board can choose the state superintendent of public education and make policies based on laws passed from the Ohio Statehouse. They approve education standards, set cut scores for state tests, make changes to the school report card system and make disciplinary decisions on accused educators, among other duties.

Jenny Kilgore

Kilgore is a former teacher and taught middle school English students for 15 years at Landmark Christian School.

She served on the village council in Glendale in Hamilton County between 2014 and 2019. She also serves on the West Point Society Board of Directors, as both her children attended West Point. She has previously served on multiple local boards doing what she said was “encouraging collaboration and fiscal responsibility locally.” She is endorsed by Ohio Value Voters.

Kilgore said she has always tried to be a servant volunteer for her community.

“You roll up your sleeves in the background when you see something that needs to be done,” Kilgore said. “You do it quietly, you get it done and you move on. And so it’s in that kind of spirit that I ran for the board.”

Kilgore said she is a student advocate who believes in education foundations.

“We’ve got one shot to prepare each child to succeed once they graduate from high school, and we need to make a better effort,” Kilgore said.

She said she would like to see local control in the hands of local school boards, rather than having the state decide what local schools need to do, and said she is in the parents’ corner.

“It’s all about the student and their family’s ability to direct their education,” Kilgore said.

Kilgore is an education leadership professor at Miami University’s Hamilton branch and has a doctorate in educational leadership from Miami University.

Katie Hofmann

Hofmann is a former Cincinnati public schools teacher and has many former positions in labor organizing, Cincinnati public schools leadership positions and the Democratic party.

She has also been endorsed by the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation of Teachers. She has 37 years of experience working with students, leading teachers and building support for public schools, including leading levy campaigns.

“I just believe we need to have somebody on that state school board that has actually taught in public education,” Hofmann said.

Hofmann said she had been horrified by some of the state board’s recent resolutions, particularly around LGBTQ+ students, that have come out of the State Board of Education and the Ohio Legislature. Board member Brendan Shea, who represents District 10, proposed a resolution opposing federal protections for transgender students.

“They really don’t want special education students in there,” Hofmann said. “They really don’t want anybody that doesn’t fit into their little round peg and round hole.”

Hofmann said her priority is building a collaborative school board invested in supporting all students, teachers and their communities and plans to do so by finding common ground, making decisions based on research, and working with local school boards to find solutions.

Hofmann said as a lifelong educator, she wants to make sure education is a top priority.

“If the legislature does go on to pass one of these ridiculous things, they need to set policies and procedures for that, and the state school board would be a way to make sure it’s done in a correct manner, with everyone being respected,” Hofmann said.

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