CMSD Board Members
Board members recognized for commitment to Cleveland’s children
In January, school boards throughout Ohio are being recognized for their service to children and their communities as part of School Board Recognition Month.
Few people fully understand the scope and far-reaching implications of a board member’s responsibilities – the endless string of late-night meetings, numerous school functions to attend, voluminous documents to read and a host of difficult decisions to make. Like many other boards throughout the nation, the Cleveland Metropolitan School Board faced a challenging year and will continue to address important issues as they strive to move CMSD forward.
CMSD and the Mayor’s Office are saluting the board members’ unwavering dedication to Cleveland’s schoolchildren with a mayoral proclamation, certificates from the Ohio School Board Association, a recognition video (need url from YouTube) and posters throughout the Central Office thanking them for their service.
To learn more about Cleveland’s board members who give freely of their time, read the following brief profiles:
Denise W. Link, Chair Denise W. Link, Chair (Appointed 2007; reappointed 2011; appointed Board Chair 2009; reappointed Board Chair 2011; current term expires June 30, 2015)
Denise Link has worked at PNC Bank for 25 years and serves as vice president in Network Planning & Delivery. Link holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and psychology from the University of Michigan and an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. Before joining the Board of Education, she served on the District’s Bond Accountability Commission and the Circle of the Arts. She also served as a board member from 1998 to 2003 on Children First of Cleveland. In addition to her service as a CMSD board member, she volunteers at District preschools as part of PNC’s Grow Up Great program, designed to help prepare underserved preschool children for success in school and life. Because of Link’s commitment to urban education, she was a finalist for the 2011 Richard R. Greene Award. Each year at its fall conference, the Council of the Great City Schools bestows the Green Award upon a superintendent or board of education member in recognition of exceptional contributions to urban schools and students. Link lives in Ohio City with her husband and children.
Louise P. Dempsey, Vice Chair (Appointed 1998; reappointed 2003; reappointed 2007; reappointed 2011; appointed Board Vice Chair 2009; reappointed Board Vice chair 2011; current term expires June 30, 2015)
Louise Dempsey is the Senior Fellow for Education Policy and a retired assistant dean of Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. An attorney, Dempsey serves on the Board of Trustees of John Hay’s School of Science & Medicine and School of Architecture & Design, and the Board of Directors of the CMSD Transformation Alliance. She is also an emerita trustee of Laurel School, her alma mater. Dempsey is a member of the American Bar Association's Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline. She earned a bachelor’s degree from McGill University and her juris doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. Dempsey also holds a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Bioethics from CSU. She lives in Bratenahl and is the proud mother of a Collinwood High School graduate.
Patricia Crutchfield (Appointed 2009; current term expires June 30, 2013)
Patricia Crutchfield works as an assistant accountant at Hastings Professional Medical Equipment. She has an associate’s degree from Highland Park College. Crutchfield has been active in the Cleveland schools as president of John Hay High School’s Parent Organization, as a board member of John Hay’s School of Science & Medicine and as a volunteer at Iowa-Maple School. She lives in Cleveland’s North Collinwood neighborhood with her husband and their son, who attends college and is a recent CMSD graduate.
Robert M. Heard, Sr. (Appointed 2004; reappointed 2005; reappointed 2009, served as Board Chair 2007-09; current term expires June 30, 2013)
Robert Heard currently works in security for the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is also retired as a claims representative for State Farm Insurance Co., where he worked for 20 years. Heard previously taught English in CMSD’s Adult Education Program. He is a member of the Neighborhood Connections grants committee, a member of 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland and vice president of the Cleveland Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. A John Adams High School alumnus, Heard holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Cleveland State University. He earned the title of fellow from Broad Institute and completed the Executive Leadership Program for Educators at Harvard University. He lives in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood with his wife and two daughters.
Willetta A. Milam Willetta A. Milam (Appointed 2003; reappointed 2005; reappointed 2009; current term expires June 30, 2013)
Willetta Milam is the president and founder of Help Resources, a community-based organization that assists in educating people about their legal rights. A graduate of John Hay High School, she holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Bradford Campus and a juris doctorate from Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C. She lives in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood of Cleveland and is the proud mother of a CMSD student.
Shaletha Mitchell (Appointed 2011; current term expires June 30, 2015)
Shaletha Mitchell is pursuing her doctorate at Kent State University in health education. She earned a master’s degree from Cleveland State University in exercise physiology and sports management and a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University in psychology.
Most recently, she was the manager of the Health & Wellness Center at Cuyahoga Community College.
Mitchell is certified as a state nurse’s assistant, group fitness instructor and a personal trainer. She enjoys sports and running with her dog, Knightro. She is an East Side resident and, for more than 20 years, has worked as an advocate for youth.
Lisa Thomas (Appointed 2011; current term expires June 30, 2015)
Lisa Thomas is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Cleveland State University’s Levin college of Urban Affairs. Dr. Thomas teaches courses in public administration and non-profit management. Thomas has served on the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County and has significant senior-level management experience with municipal government, including the cities of Cleveland, Lakewood and North Olmsted.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, an M.B.A. from Baldwin-Wallace College and a Ph.D. in urban policy and public affairs from Cleveland State University.
She lives in the Euclid Park neighborhood of Cleveland.
Eric Wobser (Appointed 2011; current term expires June 30, 2015)
Eric Wobser, an attorney, serves as executive director of Ohio City, Inc., the nonprofit community development group formerly known as Ohio City Near West Development Corp.
He is a former board member of the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, worked as the capital planning manager for the City of Cleveland and was a Cleveland executive fellow with the Cleveland Foundation and Cleveland Leadership Center. Wobser is also a former City Year corps member.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio University and a juris doctorate from the University of Michigan. He lives in the Ohio City neighborhood with his wife and their young son.
In addition to the nine Board of Education members appointed by the Mayor, Ohio House Bill 269 provides that the presidents of Cleveland State University and Cuyahoga Community College serve as nonvoting ex officio members of the Board.
Dr. Ronald M. Berkman, ex officio member
President of Cleveland State University. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University.
Dr. Jerry Sue Thornton, ex officio member
President of Cuyahoga Community College. She holds bachelor of arts and masters of arts degrees from Murray State University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas.
Board of Education
1380 East Sixth Street, Room 152
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Phone: (216) 574-8585 Fax: (216) 574-8111