Columbus Board of Education
Carol Beckerle, an education consultant, and former corporate lawyer and teacher brings critical insight to the challenges of teachers and students. As a veteran CCS teacher, she is ready to step up and analyze complex issues, identify solutions, effectively promote the district and take on its biggest challenges. If elected, she will work tirelessly to promote the district and seek opportunities to advance an agenda that puts kids first.
In 2020 Carol will begin her work as a Columbus Board of Education Member.Website
Meet the Candidate
Can you tell our members a little bit about your journey to filing as a candidate?
Running for office was never on my bucket list. Truly.
I am, however, a problem solver. And as a special education teacher in Columbus City Schools, I would regularly think about ways to improve learning outcomes and school climate. I knew we could and should be doing better, and it was my nature to strategize about how to do so. But it wasn’t easy. Every year there were new standards, new tests, new forms, and new expectations that increasingly highlighted the gap in understanding between those on the ground, in the classrooms, and those in decision making roles. After awhile, the best teachers I know became demoralized.
I flirted with becoming a principal, as a potential solution. Even got accepted to a program at Ohio State. Then, last summer, when the board was accepting applications to fill a vacant seat, I started to consider the possibility of actually being the voice of inspired, dedicated, caring teachers on the school board. I quickly recognized that this perspective was exactly what was needed to better inform the board’s decision making. So it was that a long-shot application to fill a vacant seat evolved into a more intentional, strategic decision to serve as an elected.
This journey to candidacy was no doubt buoyed by the wave of women across the country stepping up to run in the wake of the 2016 election. Indeed having joined the HIVE in the fall of 2017, I suspect in my case the ‘why not me’ seed was planted by that first class of amazing Matriot-endorsed candidates who continue to support and inspire me every day.
Tell our members about a friend or family member who inspired you to become a leader.
Although I grew up half an hour from Manhattan, our town was a lot more like Mayberry. My grandfather served on the local savings and loan board. His father was instrumental in building our church. My dad was a lifelong, Rotarian, who was most proud of having instituted the club’s scholarship program. My mother has continued to award the scholarships since he has passed. My brother is third generation Rotarian in the same club. My other brother’s children were the 5th generation to graduate from the local high school. We are a family that is dedicated to supporting and building community and working to improve the status quo. It is in our DNA. I believe that is a big part of what has inspired me to run for school board.
Some of you are military veterans, some small business owners, some professionals, some mothers and grandmothers, some homemakers. How did one of these experiences shape who you are as a person and leader?
In truth, I can check most of those boxes: corporate lawyer, teacher, and homemaker. The overriding benefit that I have gained from this breadth of experience is UNDERSTANDING. I understand the teachers’ perspective, the legal perspective, the business community’s perspective and most importantly, the parents’ perspective – both as a parent myself and as special education teacher who benefitted from ongoing relationships with the parents of my students. I believe the depth of my experience provides the foundation needed to craft solutions and/or strategies that take into account the varied dynamics of the varied stakeholders that make up the community of Columbus City Schools.
The Matriots PAC has a goal to see 50% of all elected offices in Ohio held by women by 2028. What is your vision for Ohio in 2028?
First of all, now that women have started to lead in earnest, I fully expect we will have exceeded this goal. By 2028, I see a government on all levels that is more targeted in governing and more efficient. Our institutions will be more collaborative and more flexible. Our communities will be more supportive of families and children and education – all of which are at the core of what is valued by women. In terms of Columbus City Schools, I see mindfulness and restorative justice circles in every building and every classroom. I see elementary schools that serve as the center of neighborhood communities. I see graduation paths that are more fluid and that value options that cover more than simply being ‘college ready.’ I also see graduates who are confident in their ability to pursue their goals – knowing they have mastered the skills necessary to achieve them.
Tip O’Neill famously said that “all politics is local.” What are the top-two issues your community or our state face today?
One top issue that has been on my radar for a while is the growing gap between the wealthy and the poor and its corollary: the vanishing middle class. The data on this is staggering and I have seen few in any initiatives targeted at reversing this trend. Social scientists have been warning that eventually instability will result. So there are reasons for everyone to take this seriously, even those who are not motivated by morals but rather by a desire to sustain a stable society. Although not sufficient to solve this problem, improving education for students in poverty is a critical element. I plan to fight tirelessly to move the dial for our children in poverty.
A second, related concern is the breakdown of community in our poor neighborhoods. Our children are coming to school traumatized, in large part, by poverty, and all its attendant upheaval, but also by the lack of a sense of community. All of our governmental and non-governmental community leaders and stakeholders need to come together to rebuild stronger communities and neighborhoods. Many of our district’s school buildings are not at capacity. I would love to see community programs share space with our schools in an effort to revitalize neighborhoods.
Tell us something personal about yourself.
Despite being well into my 5th decade, I am a newlywed. Between us, we have 5 children. Thankfully, my three stepchildren (plus a step-daughter-in-law) all live nearby. However, my two sons are both teaching English in Thailand and are not scheduled to return until after the election. Seems like they have gone to extreme lengths to avoid campaigning for their mother.