NSBA’s Council of Urban Boards of Education Announces 2017-2018 Leadership

March 30, 2017

Alexandria, Va. (March 30, 2017) - The National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) elected leaders and new members to its Steering Committee during its annual business meeting at NSBA’s Annual Conference, March 25-27, in Denver, Colorado.

Micah Ali of Compton Unified School District, California was elected Chair of CUBE’s Steering Committee; Rhonda Skillern-Jones of Houston Independent School District (HISD), Texas, Vice Chair; and Ruth Veales of District 5, Oklahoma City Schools Board of Education, Oklahoma, Secretary. Bruce Alexander, of Akron Public Schools, Ohio, now serves as the Committee’s Immediate Past Chair.

Ali, CUBE’s newly elected Chair, is a committed champion for public education and our country’s high-needs and historically underserved children. He was elected to the Compton Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Education in 2007 and was re-elected in 2015. Ali is currently the Vice-President of the CUSD Board of Trustees and also serves as Vice President of the Los Angeles County School Trustees Association. Ali has served Los Angeles County, as President of the Los Angeles County Schools Trustees Association.

“As we defend public education, it’s imperative that we continue to shine the spotlight on equity,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director & CEO, National School Boards Association.  “Micah Ali, CUBE’s newly elected Chair, and the new slate of steering committee members will play an essential role in strengthening our work to ensure that every child can gain access to the same opportunities as their peers, regardless of their background or where they live.”

Four new school board members were elected to serve a 3-year term on CUBE’s steering committee:

Ray Freeman of Warrensville Heights City Schools, Warrensville Heights, Ohio: Freeman is the president of the Warrensville Heights Board of Education. He has served in many roles, including Ohio Delegate for the Ohio Delegate Assembly.

Martha James-Hassan of Baltimore City Schools, Maryland: James-Hassan is an assistant professor in the School of Education and Urban Studies at Morgan State University. She has over 20 years of experience in urban education as a teacher and administrator.

Jayme Mathias of Austin Independent School District (ISD), Austin, Texas: Mathias was elected to the Austin ISD Board of Trustees to represent District 2, a district of 55,000 voters in Dove Springs, East Austin, East Riverside/Oltorf, Montopolis and Travis Heights.

Leah Puryear of Charlottesville City Schools, Charlottesville, Virginia: Puryear was elected to serve on the Charlottesville City School Board of Education in 2006. She has served on several boards and committees including the Charlottesville-Albemarle Technical Education Center.

Two incumbents were re-elected:

Jacinto Ramos of Fort Worth Independent School District, Fort Worth, Texas: Ramos was elected to serve on the Fort Worth Independent School District’s (FWISD) School Board of Trustees in 2013, and in 2015 he became the youngest FWISD School Board President.

Nandi Sekou of Virgin Islands Board of Education, St. Thomas, Virgin Islands: Sekou has been a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands Board of Education, which functions as both a local board and state association, for eight years.


The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA believes education is a civil right necessary to the dignity and freedom of the American people, and all children should have equal access to an education that maximizes his or her individual potential. The association represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S.

The Council of Urban Boards of Education (CUBE) supports urban school boards and fosters effective leadership for excellence and equity in public education, with a specific focus on underrepresented students. CUBE provides educational opportunities that engage urban school districts and district leaders, working through their state school boards associations, while addressing challenges in urban centers. Learn more at:


Go to top