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21-year-old college student elected mayor of Alabama town

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CAMP HILL, Ala. — The new mayor of an Alabama town faces a couple of unusual challenges: Namely, going to class and doing his homework.

Auburn University student Messiah Williams-Cole defeated an incumbent to be elected mayor of Camp Hill, Alabama, last week. Besides operating the town of about 950 people, he’s getting ready to graduate next May with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.

The 21-year-old led Mayor Ezell Woodyard-Smith by a margin of 259-156 in last Tuesday’s runoff election. The mayor-elect tells news outlets he’s excited more than anything and also a little overwhelmed to win the position.

Williams-Cole sought the mayorship after losing a bid for the Camp Hill City Council last year. Williams-Cole is a Camp Hill native, and he says he’ll work out a detailed scheduled to allow him to both complete his classwork and serve as mayor.

Williams-Cole assumes office for a four-year term Nov. 2. The town of Camp Hill is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Auburn.

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Ohio state school board has 6 of 11 elected seats up for grabs

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Catherine Candisky
 
| The Columbus Dispatch

Voters are electing six members of the state Board of Education this year, including three representing the central Ohio area.

The half-dozen seats are among the 11 elected positions on the board. Another eight members are appointed by the governor.

The 19-member panel creates policy and makes recommendations for K-12 education, and hires the state superintendent.

More: Election 2020: The Columbus Dispatch Voter Guide

While members are elected in nonpartisan races, the board has been political at times. Most recently, the board sparred over a resolution ultimately approved 12-5 in July condemning hate speech and racism in schools, directing the Department of Education to review curriculum models and tests for racial bias, and requiring bias training for employees.

The resolution followed the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed while in the custody of Minneapolis police, triggering protests across the nation. Conservatives on the board said the resolution was a rush to judgment and questioned the extent of racism in schools.

In central Ohio’s 6th district, incumbent Antoinette Miranda of Columbus is seeking a second four-year term against challenger Alice Nicks of Galena. The district covers most of Franklin County and all of Delaware and Knox counties.

Miranda is a professor of school psychology and interim chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning at Ohio State University. She has more than 35 years of experience in K-12 and post-secondary education, including six years as a school psychologist.

Miranda said her priorities on the board include improving state report cards for schools and districts to make them more understandable for parents, educators and stakeholders and better reflect progress in schools. She also wants to advocate for districts as lawmakers tackle school-funding issues.

“The board doesn’t really vote on state funding, but it