A lifelong educator, out candidate Bryan Cannon steps into the race for Cincinnati School Board

During a crucial time for Ohio’s third largest school district, out LGBTQ+ candidate Bryan Cannon looks to bring decades of experience in education and leadership to the Cincinnati Board of Education.
(Photo by Ron Clemons)

Gone are the days when the focus on elections is solely on those who represent at the federal, state and local levels.

As we have witnessed over the past few years, school board elections have proven to be increasingly vital in determining the tenor of a community, from educational policy to protections for our students in schools.

Bryan Cannon is ready to be take a seat at the table where those decisions are made.

With more than 30 years spent improving school culture and increasing student achievement, Cannon is stepping into the fray as a candidate for the Cincinnati School Board. A Battery Commander in the U.S. Army National Guard for close to 20 years and a Principal at various schools for a dozen years after that, Cannon currently serves as a physical education teacher at Mount Healthy High School a few miles north of Cincinnati.

As an out LGBTQ+ candidate in a state where the legislature has introduced a blitz of legislation aimed at restricting the lived experience of Ohio’s LGBTQ+ youth, Cannon’s candidacy comes at a critical juncture. The Buckeye Flame spoke with him about why he is running and what experiences he brings to the mix that will be of benefit to our students. 

You’ve been involved with education for over 25 years, most of them as an administrator and now operating in the classroom. What made you decide to run for Cincinnati School Board here in 2023?

Bryan Cannon: I was born in Boston in the 70’s. When it came time for me to go to school, my mother enrolled me in a desegregation program. As a result, I was exposed to different educational opportunities than my older siblings who had attended schools in our neighborhood. I was able to experience a higher quality education.

Education is a game changer. Our children getting a quality education can impact their lives in so many positive ways.  I want to make sure that the students enrolled in Cincinnati public schools get a quality education and be exposed to the wide variety of opportunities that are available to them.  Ideally, it will give them aspirations and inspiration to go for something greater.

Most of us know very little , if anything, about how school boards function.  What can you tell us about the Cincinnati School Board?

The Cincinnati School Board is made up of 7 elected officials, [representatives] from the community that have an interest in what goes on in the schools and how it impacts the students. As a board, we have two employees — the superintendent and the treasurer — and it is the board’s job to manage the people in those positions. The board develops policies and a budget and hire the superintendent and treasurer to carry out those policies.

(Photo courtesy of Ron Clemons)

Describe your platform/motto as an educator and candidate for the school board.

My motto is very simple: kids first, teachers always and families essential.  Any decision I make as a  board member is based on what’s best for the children and based on research and data. It’s not about my political views or latest fad, but what’s best for the kids.

Secondary to that are the teachers and staff since they are the ones who will have to carry out the decisions coming from the board and make sure that they have the resources to do what we are asking.

The last piece is families as they are essential to the plan. We have to figure out how to get the families back into the educational process and create a safe environment for kids to learn. We must create a culture of anti-bullying where all kids, however they identify, are safe and it must be intentional. Being a [student] is difficult enough and we as adults need to establish guidelines and policies that will help alleviate the stresses of that, not add to it.

What do you want the readers to know about Bryan Cannon, the community member?

This is not political for me. This is what I’ve been doing for the past 32 years and education is my passion.

I am active in my community. I go to church here. I’m on my neighborhood community council.  I’m involved in neighborhood security walks. I give donations to schools in my neighborhood. I’ve painted schools and I’ve cleaned up schools.

Additionally, while some of the current School Board members are former teachers, I would be the only one currently in the classroom. That’s in addition to my experience of being a principal and superintendent.

Someone needs to be on the board that can talk the talk and walk the walk. I am that person. 🔥

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