The leaders of the State House and Senate have made their initial appointments to the revamped State Board of Education. Byron Ernest was appointed to the board by House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis). That announcement came less than three hours after Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) announced his appointee, Steve Yager.
Ernest is current Head of Schools for Hoosier Academies, two public charter schools operated by Ball State University. He was Indiana‘s Teacher of the Year in 2010, and also served as principal of Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis after it was taken over by the state. While Ernest was principal, Manual became the first takeover school to move out of the failing category in the state‘s A-to-F grading system. Prior to his time at Manual, Ernest was head of the department of agriculture for Lebanon Community Schools.
Yager is the former superintendent of two school districts in Allen County and more recently co-chair of the State Board‘s committee that developed the new A-to-F grading formula with State Superintendent Glenda Ritz. He says he will not bring politics to the board.
"What they’re going to see from me is educational decisions and educational recommendations and educational emphasis," Yager says.
The legislative leaders were given appointments to the State Board for the first time under the reform law passed by the General Assembly this year. Governor Pence also announced his picks Wednesday, starting with reappointing current board members Gordon Hendry, David Freitas, Cari Whicker, Sarah O’Brien and BJ Watts. Pence also named three new members: Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, Vince Bertram and Eddie Melton. Glenda Ritz remains chair of the board through the 2016 election, after which the board will elect its own chair.