Thank you, Columbus Parent Magazine, for allowing me to introduce myself and talk to your readers once a month through this Education Edge column. I'm Deb Delisle, the new superintendent of public instruction, overseeing Ohio's elementary and secondary schools, from kindergarten through senior year.

Thank you, Columbus Parent Magazine, for allowing me to introduce myself and talk to your readers once a month through this Education Edge column. I'm Deb Delisle, the new superintendent of public instruction, overseeing Ohio's elementary and secondary schools, from kindergarten through senior year.

As the new superintendent, I'm deeply committed to the 1.8 million students and 614 school districts in our state. I understand that decisions about your child's education are critically important to you as a parent, sometimes determining where you live, work and commit your family's time and resources.

In an expanding global marketplace, we're faced with even more complex decisions about our children's education than ever before, as we try to predict and imagine what they will need to succeed in the future. Some of our children's future jobs and careers haven't even been thought of yet! At the Ohio Department of Education - with all of our state partners and agencies and the
support of our state's great educators - I will do everything possible to make sure your child's education adapts to this new global era.

As a former superintendent from the Cleveland Heights/University Heights School District, an urban district adjacent to Cleveland, I bring five years of experience to the state level. I also have a broad understanding of education in our state - as a teacher of English language arts and gifted students, as a curriculum director and principal, as an assistant superintendent, and even as an instructor at the college level.

Above all, I'm a parent. There is no greater role I cherish than being a mother of an incredibly creative son. Just like you, I have always desired for him to be happy and also challenged through his educational experiences. My husband and I wrote a book together about activities to enhance children's self-awareness, compassion and leadership. All of our children need a solid foundation in the disciplines of science, math, language arts, history and fine arts, but businesses tell us there also exists a heightened need for expertise in communication, collaboration, problem solving, decision making, divergent thinking, creativity and innovation.

Governor Strickland shared his education reform package with the public during his State of the State address on January 28. In it, he stressed the importance of focusing our educational system on the needs of the individual child. "We will create community engagement teams in our schools," the governor said. "We will place nurses in our schools. We will have professionals in the schools who will help educators, families and community service providers come together to help our children succeed."

The State Board of Education, the governor and I recognize the importance of family and parental involvement in the lives of our students, at every level of the system. We commend you for your daily involvement in the education of your children and ask that you visit our website at education.ohio.gov. Click on "families" to check this site out.

Here are some additional education highlights that the governor is proposes:
Provide all-day kindergarten across the state. Lengthen the school year by 20 days over the next 10 years, bringing time spent learning in line with international systems. Replace the current tenth grade Ohio Graduation Test with the national ACT college entrance exam and also include other measures for graduation, including a senior thesis, community service, and end-of-course exams. Boost the state's share of school funding to 59 percent by 2017, up from the current level of 52 percent, which will move some of the burden away from local communities. Start a four-year residency program for teachers to receive a professional license, similar to a medical model. Set standards for innovative teaching strategies that incorporate interdisciplinary methods, project-based learning, real-world lessons and service learning. Hold teachers more accountable for students and allow principals to remove teachers for just cause. Audit schools to make sure students are advancing academically. Create a Center for Innovation and Creativity at the Ohio Department of Education.
Educators can't accomplish all of these goals alone. We need the help of parents, families, faith-based groups, community organizations, business and industry leaders, and higher education faculty to carry out this reform.

Please feel free to e-mail Columbus Parent Magazine with any questions you have for me. Because Ohio is a local-control state, your school district's leaders and boards of education decide educational policy at the local level. However, I would be happy to answer any questions you have from the state perspective. Together, let's stand up for education in Ohio!