DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – In a monthly Ohio Department of Education meeting on Monday, Montgomery County resident Charlotte McGuire was elected as the new president of Ohio State Board of Education.

“I was surprised. It’s very surreal. When I started this journey I ran on a campaign, a voice — your voice for our children’s success. So, it’s all about the children,” said McGuire. McGuire says her goals within this new position is to create smoother paths for students to succeed.

“We need community visions with what I call community stakeholders. I did say partners. Everyone in Ohio has a stake in Ohio’s future…and should have a stake in it’s educational system,” said McGuire.

The pandemic has been difficult for many schools across Ohio and the United States due to challenges like online learning. Due to this, McGuire says she wants to put an emphasis on teacher and student connections to ensure full potential. “I wanna return the joy of teaching to the system, and the joy of learning, and how we best connect with children to bring out the best,” said McGuire.

McGuire says humans are created for socialization, making the pandemic such a difficult time. “So, part of learning has to do with making connections in your classroom. So, a lot of children wanna go back and see their classmates.”

McGuire was born in Memphis, Tennessee and attended Booker T. Washington High School during the time of Jim Crow segregation. These experiences are what McGuire says aided her passion to ensure all children are given the same rights to education.

“That’s why I’m so big on family strengthening. My mom and dad told me I could be anything I wanted to be, regardless of the color of my skin. They told me hard work and dedication would pay off. My mother of all persons said when faced with those situations, kill ’em with kindness,” said McGuire.

Though not confirmed due to state records only going back so far, the Ohio Department of Education leaders believe McGuire to be the first black woman to hold the title of President of Ohio’s State School Board.