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Pence appoints 6 to state education board

INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence took control of the State Board of Education on Thursday after making six appointments to the 11-member panel.

Four appointees were new to the board and two were reappointments. All will serve four-year terms starting July 1.

The new board faces key issues in the coming months, including a review of the national Common Core standards.

“As we strive to make Indiana the state where education works for all kids, we thank the individuals named today to the Indiana State Board of Education for their commitment to making this goal a reality,” Pence said.

“Their wealth and diversity of experience, both in the classroom and in leadership positions across our state and nation, will bring unique perspective to the board and will greatly benefit Hoosier children and their families in the years ahead.”

Those appointed are:

Dr. David Freitas, of Granger, is the Second Congressional District representative. He has served as an elected school board member, an appointed a college Dean of Education for more than 20 years and a consultant for the U.S. Department of Education.

Andrea Neal, of Indianapolis, is the Fifth Congressional District representative. Neal recently completed her 10th year of teaching U.S. History and English at St. Richard’s Episcopal School in Indianapolis. She is also an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, and a former reporter at the Indianapolis Star.

Dr. Brad Oliver, of Muncie, is the Sixth Congressional District representative. Since 2009, Oliver has served as Associate Dean and Education Unit Head at Indiana Wesleyan University. In the past he has also worked as an elementary teacher, an elementary principal and assistant superintendent.

Troy Albert, of Henryville, will represent the Ninth Congressional District. He has served as Henryville Jr. Sr. High School Principal for seven years. During his career, he also worked as a teacher, an assistant principal and athletic director. Following the devastating tornado that struck Henryville in March 2012, Albert has worked to instill confidence in school safety procedures for natural disasters both here in Indiana and in other states, such as Oklahoma.

The reappointments are first-grade teacher Sarah O’Brien, of Avon, and Dan Elsener, of Indianapolis, who serves as President of Marian University. They represent the Fourth and Seventh congressional districts, respectively.