CCS swears in new board member
Hours after President Barack Obama took his oath of office in Washington, D.C., Ramona Reyes raised her hand in front of a full room, vowing to serve the Columbus City School district as a board member.
With nearly 30 friends and family members in the audience taking pictures and smiling, Reyes repeated a pledge on Jan. 20, given by Franklin County Probate Judge Eric Brown. Before citing the oath, Brown spoke of the important role.
“This is the most important office, job, in the community,” Brown said. “Educating children is something hopefully you will work on.”
Reyes briefly spoke to the audience after carrying her belongings to her new seat next to board member Betty Drummond.
“I thank you for providing me the opportunity to serve the Columbus community,” she said. “I believe the board and superintendent will serve as best to their abilities to be empowered to educate the students.”
Knowing the challenges before her, Reyes said her intent as a board member is to keep the community and children in mind.
“The board will work to be good rather than to look good,” she said. “I know we can and will serve the Columbus community in the best interest of the community.”
Reyes noted the irony of taking office the day after Martin Luther King Day and the day of Inauguration Day. She also stressed the importance of the district’s melting pot of students.
“The district is growing and becoming a diverse community,” she said. “I want to make sure we embrace that.”
Reyes, a native of Weslaco, Texas, replaces W. Carlton Weddington, who resigned his position after being elected to the Ohio House in November. Board members unanimously voted to appoint Reyes on Jan. 13.
The bilingual 39-year-old is a prominent figure in the Latino community. She is a human resources specialist for Nationwide Insurance Enterprise and is president of the Columbus Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Reyes is also a graduate of the national Hispana Leadership Institute and its Grass Roots Leadership program. The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs has awarded Reyes the Hispanic Hero award twice, and the Distinguished Hispanic Ohioan award. She served as a commissioner for the Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs and volunteers with various organizations throughout the community.
Reyes’ first meeting was the last for board member Dr. Terry Boyd, who will step down from his seat Jan. 31, to fulfill obligations with his role at Franklin University.
Board Vice-President Stephanie Groce commended Boyd on his leadership, on behalf of the board.
“We celebrate the contribution of Dr. Boyd and thank him for his years of service and sacrifice,” she said, before audience members rose to their feet, clapping.
“There is no finer job or opportunity to be involved with civic responsibility than being a part of a board such as this,” Boyd responded. “This is bittersweet. This will always have an important part in my life. I’ve grown into it, I’m better because of it.”
Though the district and board will always have critics, Boyd said, board members must remember the task of operating such a large organization.
“When you’re moving a system like this, it’s a tremendous task,” Boyd said. “I walk away feeling confident that the best days are ahead of (the board). They will do what’s necessary to make sure students achieve academic success.”
Boyd’s replacement has not yet been named by the board.