Mary Wineberg Runs a Different Race

The Olympic gold medalist turned teacher won a seat on the Cincinnati Public Schools board last fall.

Olympic gold medalist turned teacher Mary Wineberg won a seat on the Cincinnati Public Schools board last fall.

Photograph by Angie Lipscomb

Why did you want to run for the school board?

To be a voice for the students who don’t have someone speaking up for them. As a teacher for over 11 years, I saw many families being affected by the lack of communication/transparency. Some were having trouble navigating the public school system. I wanted to ensure that all children would be given an equitable education option, and families would be able to regain trust back into the district.

Has being on the board made you look at teaching differently?

No. It allowed me to use my background as a former teacher to be able to relate to the key issues that are hot topics right now and discuss them with confidence. I feel that having this kind of edge allows me to see things with a critical lens.

What makes you the right person for this job?

I’ve learned to take all of my opportunities and make them into greatness. I have the skills, the drive, the tenacity, and unwavering perseverance. I will not give up on our students.

How do you feel you’ve changed the spaces that you’re a part of over the years?

Change, for me, isn’t about how comfortable I may be, but how it will take me out of my comfort zone and challenge me.

What do you think change in those spaces will look like for people like you in the future?

I want students to be able to look up to me as a role model and say that they, too, may want to become a board member who will give back to their school system.

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