Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom



Who's Who On The State Board Of Education


The State Board of Education meets in September 2013.

Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

The Indiana State Board of Education meets in September 2013.

State superintendent Glenda Ritz chairs the State Board of Education, whose 10 members are appointed by the governor to four-year terms. The State Board is responsible for authorizing school funding, overseeing the statewide accountability system and intervening in struggling schools.

Legislation passed in 2013 to review the Common Core State Standards and rewrite Indiana’s A-F school ratings system has heightened the profile of the State Board in recent months.

Oversight of the State Board’s operations and budget used to fall to the Indiana Department of Education. But in 2013, state lawmakers decided to fund the State Board as a separate line item with an annual operating budget of $3 million. That’s led to concern that the board — largely Republican — will not continue to work with the superintendent’s office.

Then, in August, Governor Mike Pence created a new state agency, the Center for Education and Career Innovation, to coordinate efforts between the State Board and other panels exploring career and technical education. The move didn’t sit well with Ritz, who says she was left out of the loop.

The other State Board members and Ritz have clashed frequently on issues such as A-F school letter grades and statewide academic standards in recent months, leading to the superintendent walking out of the November meeting. Board members have accused Ritz of not putting their items on the agenda for discussion. Ritz has counted that CECI is trying to strip her of authority as the Board’s chairwoman.

The 10 Appointed Board Members

Besides the superintendent, the board’s other 10 members include one representative from each Congressional district and an at-large member:

  • Tony Walker, a Gary attorney who represents the First Congressional District, was appointed by former Gov. Mitch Daniels in 2010.
  • David Freitas, a professor at Indiana University South Bend who represents the Second Congressional District, was appointed by Gov. Pence in 2013.
  • Cari Whicker, a middle school teacher in Huntington who represents the Third Congressional District, was appointed by Daniels in 2010.
  • Sarah O’Brien, an elementary school teacher in Avon who represents the Fourth Congressional District, was reappointed by Pence in 2013.
  • Andrea Neal, a former journalist who now teachs at an Episcopal school in Indianapolis, represents the Fifth Congressional District. She was appointed by Pence in 2013.
  • Brad Oliver, an associate dean at Indiana Wesleyan University, represents the Sixth Congressional District. He was appointed by Pence in 2013.
  • Daniel Elsener, the president of Marian University in Indianapolis, represents the Seventh Congressional District. He was reappointed by Pence in 2013.
  • B.J. Watts, an elementary school teacher in Evansville, who represents the Eighth Congressional District, was appointed by Daniels in 2010.
  • Troy Albert, the principal at Henryville High School, represents the Ninth Congressional District. Pence appointed Albert in 2013.
  • Gordon Hendry, a lawyer who advises public sector clients and education institutions at a real estate firm, serves as the board’s at-large representative. Pence appointed Hendry to take over David Shane’s term, which expires in 2014.

Latest Posts

Judge Throws Out Glenda Ritz’s Lawsuit Against The State Board

UPDATED, 5:30 p.m. Eastern — Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was not authorized to file a lawsuit against members of the State Board of Education, a Marion County judge ruled Friday afternoon. In throwing the lawsuit out of court, Judge Louis Rosenberg sided with the Indiana Attorney General’s office, whose lawyers contended only they could […]

DOE Memo: Indiana Schools Will Have A-F Grades By November 22


Indiana schools will have their state-issued A-F performance ratings by Nov. 22, according to a proposed timeline the state’s Department of Education sent to district superintendents this week. Nov. 22 is also the suggested date of an as-yet-unscheduled meeting of the State Board of Education, during which the panel could approve “final letter grades for […]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »