It’s not surprising when voters and school boards decide to vote pastors onto the boards that oversee public schools, said Pearl, because like other members from different backgrounds, they often bring with them a wide skill set.
“I believe that everyone’s gifts, talents and abilities are interchangeable,” said Pearl, who leads the New Day Baptist Church and is Director of The Saint Monica’s Recreational Center, both in the Hamilton County city of Lincoln Heights.
Pearl, who is a Liberty Twp. resident and former Lakota school parent of two graduates from the district was chosen by the board among 50 applicants.
“Just like a lay person or church member volunteering in the church sharing their gifts, pastors and clergy can just as well serve in the marketplace,” said the first-time office holder.
“I believe we (pastors) recognize the value of stepping out from behind the pulpit and outside the four walls of the church building to contribute to our communities in broader ways. ."
Mathews, pastor of the Truth & Life Church in Hamilton, is also in the initial year of her first-time in elected office.
“I believe the ability to cast vision as a pastor has helped me be able to move forward with the vision set for Hamilton City Schools. A visionary leader is important,” said Mathews, who is widely known as “Pastor Shaq” due to her years of youth volunteer efforts in the city.
“It has been great serving on the Hamilton school board and bringing my skill set to add to the board and the district. As a pastor being able to connect with people and also relate to them as a parent with children in the district being able to provide decisions on critical issues related to the district."
Tyus, who is both a former Middletown City Council and city schools' board member, leads the United Missionary Baptist Church in the city and has been honored with numerous awards for his volunteer and youth advocacy efforts.
He resigned from the city school board in 2016 but has held a seat on the Butler Tech school board since 2011, including a stint as president of that board, which has members from each of the county’s 10 school districts served by the career school system.
For church officials working in public governance, just as it is for new members from other backgrounds, the first months on a school board involve a steep learning curve of Ohio school laws, finance and procedures.
“While I personally have a lot to learn,” Pearl said. “I’m honored to serve and help however I can utilizing not just my ministerial abilities but my professional and life experiences as well to simply be a blessing and helping my district be the best in the state.”