• Board of Education Members


    Board Members
    Sara Elaqad

    Sara Elaqad, J.D., Chair

    Appointed to the Board April 2019; reappointed October 2019; reappointed July 2023, appointed Board Chair July 2023; current term expires June 30, 2027

    Sara Elaqad serves as Executive Director for Minds Matter Cleveland – the local chapter of the national nonprofit organization aimed at connecting motivated, high school students from low-income households with the resources, tools, and people to succeed in college. The organization provides mentoring services, writing classes, test preparation, application assistance, financial aid advisement, and summer immersion programs, and boasts a 100% college acceptance rate. She also served three years as Chair for the organization’s National Chapter Leadership Council. Prior to her role at Minds Matter, she served as Academy Manager of Curriculum and Outcomes for Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeast Ohio, and has also been a mentor in Global Cleveland’s Global Rising Program and served on the board of Cleveland Orchestra’s Circle. Elaqad’s work earned her the YWCA Greater Cleveland Distinguished Young Woman Award in 2019. She was also recognized in Crain’s 2019 40 Under 40 class, Crain’s 2020 Notable Immigrant Leaders, and Crain’s 2023 Notables in Education Leadership.

    Elaqad is a Cleveland resident and currently lives in the Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood. She holds two Bachelors of Arts degrees from The Ohio State University – one in French and another in International Relations and Diplomacy – and a J.D. from Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law.

     

    Robert Briggs

    Robert Briggs, Esq.

    Appointed to the Board July 2023; current term expires June 30, 2027

    Mr. Briggs, a lawyer, currently serves as a Partner and Chairman Emeritus at Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs. Formerly CEO of Buckingham Law, Mr. Briggs has been significantly involved with various non-profits, foundations, civic institutions and educational organizations. He co-founded the Fund for Our Economic Future in 2004, chaired the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation from 2010 to 2014, and served as Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education from 2014 to 2016, among other notable civic engagements. He holds a bachelor of arts from Duke University and a juris doctor from the Ohio State University. Mr. Briggs formerly served in the United States Air Force as a staff judge advocate and currently resides in Downtown Cleveland.

     

    Charlene Jones

    Charlene Jones

    Appointed to the Board April 9, 2024; current term expires June 30, 2025

    Charlene Jones serves as Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Conversations For College Success. She is retired from Cleveland State University and the Black Professionals Association Charitable Foundation. Ms. Jones is a graduate of Collinwood High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and a Master of Business Administration from Cleveland State University. She previously served on the Cleveland Public Library Board of Trustees. She lives in Bratenhal.


    Midori Lebrón

    Midori Lebrón

    Appointed to the Board November 29, 2023; current term expires June 30, 2025

    Midori Lebrón serves as the Director of First Year and Exploratory Advising at Cleveland State University. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Baldwin Wallace University, a Master’s in College Student Personnel from Bowling Green State University, and a Master’s in Sociology from Cleveland State University. Additionally, she is currently in her first year as a doctoral student at Kent State University, pursuing an Ed.D in Interprofessional Leadership with a specialization in Leadership in Education. Ms. Lebrón also serves on the board of directors of the Beck Center for the Arts. She was named to the “Top 100 Latinos Cleveland Must Know” list for 2023. Ms. Lebrón lives in the Old Brooklyn neighborhood of Cleveland with her husband and family.


     Nigamanth Sridhar, Ph.D.

    Nigamanth Sridhar, Ph.D.

    Appointed to the Board July 2021; current term expires on June 30, 2025

    Dr. Nigamanth Sridhar serves as Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Cleveland State University. In this role, he oversees all academic operations for the university. Dr. Sridhar also holds a faculty appointment as Professor of Computer Science in the Washkewicz College of Engineering at Cleveland State University. He has taught courses and conducted research in a variety of areas computer science, software engineering and computer science education. From 2017 to 2020, he served as the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies at CSU. He grew up in India and earned a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems from BITS Pilani in India. He moved to the United States in 1999 to attend graduate school at Ohio State University, where he earned a master of science degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science. He lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood with his wife and daughter, who is a CMSD student.

     

    Diana Welch Howell

    Diana Welch Howell

    Appointed to the Board July 2023; current term expires June 30, 2027

    Diana Welch Howell currently serves as Head of Hospitals Expansion for KeyBank’s Laurel Road Brand. She has over a decade of corporate banking experience, with a focus on business management, corporate strategy and development, and financial analysis. Before joining KeyBank she worked for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati and JPMorgan Chase Bank in Chicago. She holds a bachelor of business administration in finance from the University of Cincinnati. She is a downtown Cleveland resident, has served as a mentor for College Now, Girl Scouts of the USA, and has volunteered on the Young Professionals Board for United Way of Metro Chicago.

     
     

    In addition to the nine Board of Education members appointed by the Mayor, Ohio House Bill 269 provides that the presidents of Cuyahoga Community College and Cleveland State University serve as nonvoting ex officio members of the Board.

     
    Michael Baston

    Dr. Michael Baston

    ex officio member

    President of Cuyahoga Community College. 

    Dr. Laura Bloomberg

    Dr. Laura Bloomberg

    ex officio member

    President of Cleveland State University. 
     
     
    Board of Education
    Administration Building
    1111 Superior Ave E, Suite 1800
    Cleveland, Ohio 44114
    Phone: (216) 838-0000