Ashley Morris
TheNewsOutlet.org

Name: Darryl D. Mehaffie.

Appointed, at large: Appointed in January to unexpired term that ends Dec. 31, 2014.

School board committees: Capacity; Appointments; Legislative and budget; Graduation requirements; Operating standards.

Age: 70.

Residence: Wayne Lakes.

Political party affiliation: Republican.

Occupation: Retired elementary school teacher, Trotwood.

Education: Graduated from public high school, bachelor’s in education, some postgraduate studies.

Family: Married, two grown children who attended public schools.

Other boards, affiliations: Member of Ohio Republican Central Committee; member, governing board, Ohio Association of Community Colleges; coordinator for the American Association for Community Colleges; 14-year member and vice chairman, board of trustees, Edison State Community College; former board member Center of the Arts, the Fair Board, Agricultural Society, Visitor’s Bureau and Historical Society.

Retired educator Darryl D. Mehaffie has been out of the classroom for 17 years, but still misses his fifth-graders.

“For 30 years, I taught in public school,” Mehaffie said. “I loved it because if you say, ‘Jump,’ to a 10-year-old, they’ll say, ‘How high?’ ”

Mehaffie, 70, has deep roots in rural western Ohio and the state’s Republican politics.

He has been campaign finance director for U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, is a member of the Republican State Central Committee and chair of the party’s finance committee.

He was one of about 100 persons invited to the state capital in 2011 to witness John Kasich take the oath of office, according to news reports.

Since 2003, records from the Ohio Secretary of State show he has contributed about $5,000 to various statewide candidates, the Ohio Republican Party and the Montgomery County Republican Party.

His largest single contribution was $2,000 to Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, for whom Mehaffie is an education adviser.

Kasich appointed him to the state school board at the beginning of 2013.

“I keep very busy, but busy is good for Darryl,” he said in a recent telephone interview.

Mehaffie said he always knew he wanted to be a teacher.

In 1962, after graduating from Arcanum High School in rural Darke County west of Dayton, he enrolled in Wilmington College, a Quaker school in the southwest part of the state known for its liberal arts.

While the school was “very well known in the ’60s for teacher education,” Mehaffie said he was the only male student.

“The professor didn’t think men should be in elementary education,” Mehaffie said. “So, right away, I had a check mark by my name. After four years, she came up to me and said, ‘You survived and you’re going to do well in the world, Darryl.’ So, challenges bring success a lot of time.”

When he was a member and president of the board of trustees of Edison Community College in Piqua, Mehaffie struggled with how to help the college fund itself.

Although he still reminisces about teaching, he is sure the social problems plaguing families are more intense today.

“One time, I had to have an interview with three sets of parents of the same child. It has to be a lot worse now,” Mehaffie said. “I just know that if you don’t have a good family background where you have a father present and a mother present, what we used to call a nuclear family, the kids suffer.”

Originally a skeptic of publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, he said he now sees them as an option.

“I see more positives with vouchers than I can see any negatives,” Mehaffie said. “Now, parents have choices. Only thing I know is, as a parent, you have the right to determine the education of your child.”

Answers to some interview questions:

Q: What do you think about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs?

A: I haven’t found any concerns that I have on it. In fact, I had more pro thoughts on it than anything. In our area here, STEM has been quite popular. Down in the Tri-Village, which is in New Madison, they have a STEM program that has been quite popular.

I went down there and spent an afternoon and I came away fairly impressed with the STEM program. Those kids were learning to develop a race car. They had to design it. They had to make the race car. They had to program the [computer] programs and make the thing work.

They were going to go up to a place called Eldora Speedway … to race the cars. So I went up to this and … it was a hoot. They had challenges and, sometimes, their car wouldn’t be doing what it was supposed to be doing, so the pit crew would work on it.

I think the STEM program is a positive thing for kids, period.

Q: In what ways should Ohio’s education system be changed?

A: You know, I thought about that and I’ll be honest with you. I could nitpick at the system, but I’m not going to. Because when you’re dealing with all the stakeholders that we’re dealing with, all the people that come in — we have to have an open mind, we have to be listening.

We may not agree sometime with what some groups are saying, but there are a lot of times where a group or an individual comes in and speaks to us and it makes sense.

I have a good friend in politics. He’s always told me, “Darryl, whenever there is change, someone’s ox is going to be gored. The object is — to what extent is your ox going to be gored.” He was right about that, because we all have to sacrifice.

We [community college board] kept that in mind when I worked with the governor’s people and the legislature, the house, the senate, for the community colleges. We didn’t go in with, “Hey! What are you going to do for us?” We went in with our hand extended and said, “We’re here, what can we do help?” And that made a big difference. As a result, we came out of the budget looking pretty good.

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