Gov. John Carney announced this week that the application period for the student seat on the State Board of Education is open through March 20. The application can be found on the State Board of Education website.

Carney appointed the first-ever student representative to the state board last year. Dorcas Olatunji, a Charter School of Wilmington student, was appointed to the board in May 2019. Olatunji’s term expires July 1.

“When we make big decisions that impact schools in our state, it’s important Delaware students have a seat at the table,” said Carney. “I was pleased to appoint Dorcas as our first student representative, and I thank her for her willingness to serve. I encourage rising juniors and seniors to consider applying for this opportunity.”

Olatunji was selected from a competitive and diverse pool of applicants representing all three counties in the state, as well as traditional, vocational technical and charter schools.

“When I was selected as the student representative, I was incredibly excited to take on the role,” said Olatunji. “In my time, I’ve learned from education and policy leaders that are truly invested in transforming Delaware education. There’s still some ways to go with student engagement, but I am ready to empower the next student representative to build on the foundation I’ve created.”

One qualified student applicant will be appointed to the board to serve as a non-voting member. The student must be a Delaware resident and be enrolled in 11th or 12th grade at a Delaware public school during the 2020-2021 academic year. Applicants who demonstrate a commitment to ensuring quality education for Delaware students will be given priority consideration.

“The student voice is an important one in helping the Board accomplish our mission of representing the citizens voice in Delaware,” said Whitney Sweeney, president of the State Board of Education. “We have learned from our first student board member and value the insight that a student brings to conversations regarding policies and programs impacting students at all levels across our state.”

The non-voting student seat was approved by the General Assembly in 2018 with the passage of House Bill 455 – legislation sponsored by state Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden and state Sen. John Walsh. The governor annually appoints to the Board an 11th- or 12th-grade student, and a former State Teacher of the Year who also is a current educator. The applications for the non-voting Former Teacher of the Year seat will open later this spring.

The board’s regular monthly meetings are open to the public and typically scheduled for the third Thursday evening of the month. The board rotates its meetings to be held in all three counties.