State Board of Education-District 2 > Jeanine P. Donaldson

Jeanine P. Donaldson

“When adequately funded, public schools are the envy of the world. I believe that Ohio’s public schools are worth fighting for; and fighting for what I believe in is what I do best.”  

Jeanine believes in:

  • Adequate and equitable school funding for all Ohio schools.
  • Educating the whole child from Pre. K - 12
  • Equal standards and accountability for all schools that receive public dollars

Sandusky native seeks state education seat
10.17.18 | Sandusky Register | Caitlin Nearhood
(includes Between The Lines video)

Jeanine P. Donaldson has been an advocate for a just society for all of her adult life, beginning in 1971 with her admission to Oberlin College. Oberlin College was the first to matriculate African-Americans and women in 1834.  It is here that Jeanine began her social activism while pursuing a degree in music at the Conservatory.

Jeanine is a native of Sandusky Ohio where she attended Sandusky Public Schools and graduated in 1971. At Oberlin, she earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1975.  That same year, she was hired by Lorain City Schools as an elementary music teacher.

Jeanine is the Executive Director of the Elyria YWCA.  She has served as Executive Director since 1980. Jeanine has pioneered innovative programs for low-income women and children and pressed for programs dealing with race, class, and women’s economic empowerment. Under her leadership, the Y provided the first homeless shelters for women and their families in Lorain County.  

Jeanine ran for the Lorain Board of Education and won her first of three four-year terms in 1995. She was the only African-American board member in a school district where 60 percent of the enrollment was comprised of Hispanic and African-American students. She served as president for multiple terms, and under her leadership Lorain City Schools hired its first female superintendent and five years later hired its first African American and female superintendent.

In 2002, Governor Bob Taft appointed her to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. In 2006, Governor Ted Strickland appointed her chairperson of the Commission, a designation which made her the first female chairperson in the 49 years of the Commission’s existence. The Commission, one of the oldest in the nation, is a department within state government with six offices statewide, a budget of 10 million dollars and over 400 staff members. She served on the commission until 2007.

In 2008, Jeanine was honored with the National YWCA Sojourner Truth Award, the highest award given to a YWCA employee in the nation who exemplifies outstanding community service and the spirit of the award’s namesake. She is a recent recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from Oberlin College.

Jeanine is a founding Trustee of Leadership Lorain County, past member of the Mercy Hospital Board of Trustees and is a past president of the Elyria Rotary Club. She is also a Life Member of the Lorain NAACP.

Jeanine and husband Larry reside in Lorain. They have two adult children Ethan (Luciene) of Connecticut and Mallory of Columbus. Jeanine and Larry are active members of Grace Community Church and are quintessential OSU Buckeye fans.