After attending many legislative hearings in person and watching even more full sessions on the Ohio Channel this year, I am convinced that the addition of teachers to the mix of elected officials can have a dramatic positive effect on the productivity of the Ohio House of Representatives.  Among all of the various traits of teachers, two key attributes stand out.

Number one, a teacher’s knowledge doesn’t exist in the mastery of a narrowly defined area of expertise such as banking or law, but is instead required to be spread out across a wide array of topics and the way those topics interrelate.  A teacher must be an expert at learning, not necessarily knowing.

Number two, and most important based on my observations, the ability of a teacher to organize and convey information using a variety of methods to large groups of immature and uncooperative individuals seems like exactly what we need in the Statehouse.

In two Ohio House districts that border Columbus we have teachers entered in the Democratic primaries for their respective House seats.  In District 21, Dublin High School teacher Donna O’Connor, and in District 24, Upper Arlington teacher – and 2002 Ohio Teacher of the Year – Maureen Reedy.

Donna O’Connor (District 21) will easily be able to translate her extensive experience as a teacher of special education into the day-to-day work of a State Representative.  Every day she is called upon to be an expert communicator with children, parents, administrators, and her peers.  Donna brings a thoughtful perspective to her work and her commitment to being a lifelong learner will serve her well as she will be tasked with the huge responsibility of considering the vast effects of extremely diverse legislation on extremely diverse populations.  O’Connor started out in teaching with both Elementary and Special Education certificates, continued her education at The Ohio State University and earned her Master of Arts in Educational Administration, subsequently adding on a license to allow her to be a school principal (at any level K-12).

Donna O’Connor is a candidate for House District 21 which is predominantly Dublin City and Worthington City, bordering Columbus to the North and Northwest.

Ohio House District 21 also includes parts of Columbus City, Norwich Township, Perry Township, Sharon Township, and Washington Township.

Bordering District 21 to the south is Ohio House District 24 represented by Upper Arlington teacher Maureen Reedy, the 2002 Ohio Teacher of the Year.  Maureen has 29 years of classroom teaching experience and in the past year was a frequent speaker in support of public workers, including a guest spot on The Ed Show on November 7, the night before the election.

Aside from encompassing all of Upper Arlington and a large part of Hilliard, District 24 is a patchwork of pieces and parts of townships, villages, and cities (Brown Township, Columbus, Franklin Township, Harrisburg Village, Norwich Township, Perry Township, Pleasant Township, Prairie Township, Sharon Township, Washington Township).

Both Donna and Maureen have the desire and demonstrated skill set and now they deserve the opportunity to represent not only their communities, but all Ohioans. The legislature can’t figure out how to properly reform either education practices or funding in Ohio, so why not ask some education experts – teachers.

If you live in these two districts, I encourage you to engage in the process of helping them get their respective messages out.  Teachers don’t have the backing of large corporations and aren’t financing their campaigns with bonuses from Lehman Brothers.  These teachers represent a real grassroots movement that is requiring a massive sacrifice of what little free time they have.

There are other teachers around Ohio that have committed to run for elected office.  If you live in a district that has a practicing educator on the ballot, I encourage you to assist them in their campaign.

Every day we entrust teachers with our future in the form of our children – it’s about time we entrusted these professional educators with the future of Ohio.

  • Anastasjoy

    “The ability of a teacher to organize and convey information using a variety of methods to large groups of immature and uncooperative individuals seems like exactly what we need in the Statehouse.”

    LOL. So true. Especially if you toss the governor into that group.

  • Some people are just six years ahead of their time.

  • MrsD

    Sure wish  John Patterson of Jefferson, Ohio had been featured in this article. 
    A teacher, Model UN advisor and track coach, Patterson was also a  prime mover in helping to defeat SB 5 last year in Ashtabula County.  Patterson  is now running
    as the Democratic Candidate for the Ohio 99th House District  which readers may recall is currently
    represented by Casey (I have a high school education and a Patriot’s Bible)
    Note that Kozlowski’s win in the three-way race in 2010 was by 42 votes and they
    came from northern Trumbull county which is no longer in the 99th District. The New
    99th is comprised of the Northern 2/3rd of Ashtabula County plus Chardon,
    Thompson and Montville in Geauga.  Please check out John’s website here: and his FB page here:!/pattersonforohio and join John in taking back the Ohio House. 

  • Laniemcmillan

    Let’s not forget Sen. Gail Manning is a retired teacher and only voted against SB 5 because the GOP had enough votes already and they didn’t want to compromise her seat.

  • Todd LeVeck

    Thanks for the props to teachers running for office. As a teacher and a veteran running for State House of Representatives, I am excited to be among the group of teachers inspired to make a run this year. If you live in Rocky River, Bay Village, Fairview Park, North Olmsted, or Westlake, or just want to join the team, check us out!

  • Rgtmwlly

    Of course, neither one of them has a snowball’s chance in he’ll of winning in these districts. But the sentiment is nice.

  • Sam

    Up in District 3 Wood County, I’m a  teacher, not running as a candidate, but running a candidate- Kelly Wicks.  He stood by my side locked out of the statehouse last year and every week after as we fought SB5.  And as usual, Plunderbund nail’s it.  Our governor and his gang of Republicans crunched working people and now we’re fighting back.  

    After 11 years in an excellent school district, and doing my job very well, I lost the job I love because of state budget cuts.  What seemed like a bad thing at first, turns out to have a silver lining-

     I can now spend ALL of my time taking down Republicans.

    Game on, Johnny, game on., FB- Kelly Wicks for Ohio House, #wicks4ohiohouse

  • Jwizzler

    It’s great to see all these people who worked on the “No on Issue 2” campaign running for office. I hope Plunderbund will look into these other candidates and give them some press, too. These two smart women sound like excellent candidates, as do the people mentioned in the comments section.

    I love that Plunderbund is supporting the idea of public servants (rather than private servants) running for office.

  • Anonymous

    Even if they don’t win, maybe they will teach you tea baggers punctuation and spelling, Rgtmwlly.

  • interesting thoughts

  • Thanks for
    the great content.

  • guest

    Only if the teacher is not an idiot.  Findlay’s Cliff Hite was supposedly a teacher and was appointed to a vacant Ohio Senate seat, then reelected in a non competitive district.  He has been nothing but a mouthpiece for Kasich and the Guvs policies…including a Senate Bill 5 champion.  Course Cliff was actually a football coach as much as a teacher, so maybe that explains things….

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