Public Education Matters

Ohio's lingering redistricting fight has clearly shown that who sits on the Ohio Supreme Court matters. And beyond redistricting, the Ohio Supreme Court justices also make important decisions on major issues that impact public education, educators and students. That's why OEA members have recommended Justice Jennifer Brunner, Judge Terri Jamison, and Judge Marylin Zayas for election to three open seats on Ohio's highest court this fall. They introduced themselves to members at a Member Activist Forum last spring.

Show Notes

State Supreme Court Candidate Spotlight - Season 3, Episode 7
Ohio's lingering redistricting fight has clearly shown that who sits on the Ohio Supreme Court matters. And beyond redistricting, the Ohio Supreme Court justices also make important decisions on major issues that impact public education, educators and students. That's why OEA members have recommended Justice Jennifer Brunner, Judge Terri Jamison, and Judge Marilyn Zayas for election to three open seats on Ohio's highest court this fall. They introduced themselves to members at a Member Activist Forum last spring.
MORE | OEA Members can learn more about the OEA Member-recommended candidates on the ballot in their community by visiting You can also learn more about the OEA Fund and its screening and endorsement process here.

SUBSCRIBE | Click here to subscribe to Education Matters on Apple Podcasts or click here to subscribe on Google podcasts so you don't miss a thing. And don't forget you can listen to all of the previous episodes anytime on your favorite podcast platform, or by clicking here.
Featured Education Matters guests: 
  • Justice Jennifer Brunner, candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice
    • On November 3, 2020, Jennifer Brunner was elected Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.  Previously she served as a judge of the Tenth District Court of Appeals for 6 years and the Franklin County Common Pleas Court for nearly 5 years. As a trial court judge Brunner founded the county’s adult felony drug court, known as the TIES (Treatment is Essential to Success) Program, now in operation for more than18 years. She was elected Ohio’s first woman Secretary of State on November 7, 2006, and held the office for four years. While in that office, she became the first Ohioan to receive the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from the bipartisan board of the JFK Library and Museum in Boston. Justice Brunner was a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010.  She has 17 years of private law practice experience and has provided rule of law technical expertise to the government of the Republic of Serbia, election observation in the Arab Republic of Egypt, and rule of law instruction at the bar association of Sri Lanka through the U.S. state department (USAID), as well as provided remote technical training through the American Bar Association (ABA) to the Republic of Kazakhstan, and in August 2022, in-person assistance to the Republic of Benin’s Human Rights Commission.  She has gained a deep understanding of the importance of a strong and well-functioning judiciary to preserving peace and growing democracy through the rule of law.  A native of Springfield, Ohio, Justice Brunner has been married to Rick Brunner since 1978.  They have 3 adult children and 6 grandchildren, 3 dogs and 2 cats and spend time at their home in Columbus and at their farm in Columbiana County in Northeast Ohio.
  • Judge Marilyn Zayas, candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Associate Justice
    • Judge Marilyn Zayas learned from an early age that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. This is a core belief and guides Marilyn in her personal and professional life. She was born in Spanish Harlem and grew up in a tough New York City neighborhood. Although she earned a college degree in computer science and moved to Cincinnati to become an IT Manager for Proctor & Gamble, Marilyn always dreamed of becoming a lawyer. After six years, in 1994, Marilyn left P&G and pursued her dream, enrolling in and then graduating with a law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 1997. In addition to realizing her dream, Marilyn also knew she had found a wonderful home in Ohio where she could raise her children. She went to work serving her community and eventually built her own law firm representing everyone from the poor to millionaires to refugees. Throughout her career, she never lost sight of her passion for justice. In 2016, Marilyn was elected to the First District Court Of Appeals of Ohio. She was proud to know she was the only Latina judge on any district court of appeals in the state. Her reputation for fairness grew. Her commitment to faithfully apply the law and the constitution was recognized by her peers. So Judge Zayas was asked to sit in on cases as a visiting judge on the Second, Sixth, Eighth and Tenth District Courts of Appeals. Judge Zayas was also selected by the Ohio Supreme Court’s Chief Justice to be a sitting judge on the Ohio Supreme Court for a recused justice. In 2022, Judge Zayas decided to run for the Ohio Supreme Court.
      Judge Marilyn Zayas’s family includes her three adult children and two adopted rescue dogs, Thor and Sparkle Lou.
  • Judge Terri Jamison, candidate for Ohio Supreme Court Associate Justice
    • Judge Terri Jamison’s journey from the coal fields of West Virginia to the highest reaches of the legal profession is a testament to her strength, intelligence, perseverance, and persistence. Judge Jamison worked as one of the few women in the underground coal mines, made Columbus her home, later opened and ran her own insurance agency for over 16 years, and attended college while working full time. Terri sold her agency and enrolled in the Capital University School of Law and obtained her Juris Doctorate in 2004. As an attorney, Terri worked in the Franklin County Public Defender’s Office representing indigent clients in the Municipal Court System and served as a Hearing Officer for the Ohio Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. She practiced in the US District Court, Southern District of Ohio. She opened her own law office, practicing Criminal, Juvenile, Domestic Relations, and Probate law at the trial and appellate level. She was admitted to practice at the Supreme Court of the United States in 2007. In 2012, she was elected judge of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch. She was overwhelmingly reelected to the Common Pleas bench in 2018 and then elected to the Tenth District Court of Appeals in 2020. During her time on the bench, Judge Jamison has used her experience, perspective, talent, and knowledge to develop new strategies to empower families. She also devoted considerable time, energy, and attention to issues related to equal access to justice, diversity, inclusion, and the need to develop alternatives to detention for juveniles. Along with her many other accomplishments, Judge Jamison is most proud of being a spouse to Ricardo “Ty” Gary, a retired Franklin County Deputy Sheriff who has started a new career as a realtor with E-Merge Realty. Their blended family includes three sons, Tremayne, Demetrius, and Sean, seven grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter.
Connect with OEA:
About us:
  • The Ohio Education Association represents about 120,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals who work in Ohio’s schools, colleges, and universities to help improve public education and the lives of Ohio’s children. OEA members provide professional services to benefit students, schools, and the public in virtually every position needed to run Ohio’s schools.
  • Education Matters host Katie Olmsted serves as Media Relations Consultant for the Ohio Education Association. She joined OEA in May, 2020, after a ten-year career as a television reporter, anchor, and producer. Katie comes from a family of educators and is passionate about telling educators' stories and advocating for Ohio's students. She lives in Central Ohio with her husband and two young children.
The conversations with Justice Brunner, Judge Jamison and Judge Zayas were recorded at an OEA Member Activist Forum on March 26, 2022.

What is Public Education Matters?

Ohio's public schools serve 1.6 million children - 90 percent of students in the state! What happens in the classroom has impacts far beyond the walls of the K-12 school building or higher ed lecture hall. So, on behalf of the 120,000 members of the Ohio Education Association, we're taking a deeper dive into some of the many education issues facing our students, educators, and communities. Originally launched in 2021 as Education Matters, Public Education Matters is your source for insightful conversations with the people who shape the education landscape in Ohio. Have a topic you'd like to hear about on Public Education Matters? Email us at

Transcribed by

Intro 0:07
This is Education Matters, brought to you by the Ohio Education Association.

Katie Olmsted 0:15
Welcome back to Education Matters. I'm your host Katie Olmsted, and I'm part of the communications team for the Ohio Education Association. Our members -- teachers, education support professionals and higher ed faculty members alike -- have a big responsibility and a big opportunity this election season. We must help elect pro-public education candidates who put Ohio students first, who support educators vote for education funding, and listen to educators before they make decisions. But let's face it, too often, Ohio's lawmakers don't listen to anyone. They do what serves them best, not what's best for the Ohioans they're supposed to represent. How does this keep happening? One word: gerrymandering. Despite Ohio voters overwhelmingly saying they wanted Ohio was broken map making system fixed, some of the state leaders on the Ohio Redistricting Commission have repeatedly put forth maps that allow politicians to pick their voters and not the other way around. The State Supreme Court rejected those unconstitutional maps several times over the last year, but this fight is far from over. And that's one of many, many reasons why this year's races for three state Supreme Court seats are so important. This fall Ohioans will elect a chief justice and to associate justices to the Ohio Supreme Court and OEA members recommend Justice Jennifer Brunner and Judge Terri Jamison and Judge Marylin Zayas for those seats, respectively. Justice Brunner, Judge Jamison and Judge Zayas all took the opportunity to introduce themselves to some OEA members at a member activist forum earlier this year. Let's take a listen to their conversation with OEA President Scott DiMauro.

Scott DiMauro 2:07
First, I'm gonna introduce you to Judge Terri Jamison. Judge Jamison is born and raised in West Virginia and then moved to Ohio. She's a third generation coal miner, proud daughter and granddaughter of United mineworkers members, came to a Columbus, Ohio ran a small business, eventually went to law school and became an attorney in 2004. And then later decided to run for Judge she was elected to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in 2012. reelected in 2018, and then ran and was successful in running for a seat on the 10th District Court of Appeals for the state of Ohio, where she currently serves. She is running against incumbent justice Pat Fischer in this election, and so she will be on the ballot as an OEA recommended candidate in November. Please welcome Judge Terri Jameson.

Judge Terri Jamison 3:06
Thank you, Scott. And thank you to everyone else that is on today. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you.

Scott DiMauro 3:14
So you want to take a few minutes and just tell us a little bit about yourself why you're running for Ohio Supreme Court and and anything else that we need to know about you and your in your campaign.

Judge Terri Jamison 3:26
Okay, well, I'm currently on the 10th District Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction in Franklin County over all appeals for trial court also has jurisdiction over appeals for workers compensation mandamus actions, and Court of Claims appeals. We are the only jurisdiction in Ohio to have a Court of Claims appeals and workers compensation in that role. We review all decisions administrative trial courts, in those two specialty courts. I am may already have three sons, eight grandchildren, and live here in the Franklin County area. I'm running for the Ohio Supreme Court, because I believe that democracy requires that you have an independent third branch of government, and that is the judiciary. As we've been watching the redistricting process. We know that Justice O'Connor has been the swing vote between the three Republicans and three other Democrats. And we know that she is term limited and will not be running this year. I want to be the fourth seat which I would begin a term on January the first 2023 to be elected to that court and sit. I believe that the Supreme Court has the responsibility of making sure or our democracy is protected. We review legislative changes, we review anything that is of general interest to the public and constitutional. And I think that there are many programs that have begun. And I've settled on a number of committees for the Chief Justice that she has begun work that needs to continue bail and bond reform, the recodification of title 29, just many things that she has begun that I would like to see the criminal sentencing database become used more widely across the state. It's only being used by less than 10% of the judges that we have in Ohio. I believe that the bench needs to reflect all members of society. And I don't believe there's anyone that's a union member or prior union member on the court at this time. I know that I bring that perspective, having been a member of the United Mine Workers, local 7635 in West Virginia, and also a member of OCSEA, when I was intermittent. For the unemployment compensation review commission. I bring those wide variety of skills having owned two small businesses, I understand the plight of a small business owner, having been in the insurance industry, which is a number of the cases that come before the court. I understand those regulations as well. So I'd like to represent all of you in that capacity, beginning on January the first of 2023. Thank you.

Scott DiMauro 6:49
Thank you, Judge Jamison. So good to have you with us and we look forward to working with you in the months ahead on this important campaign. Next, it is my honor to introduce Judge Marilyn Zayas. She is currently a judge on the First District Court of Appeals out of Cincinnati, grew up in New York and came to Ohio but in her roots, her mother's proud member of the International ladies garment workers union came to Cincinnati when she was hired by Procter and Gamble in 1994, served as an attorney for nearly 20 years before joining the courts. And she has made her home here in Ohio for 34 years with her family, which includes three adult children for two adopted rescue dogs, Thor and Sparkle Lou.
And she is facing incumbent justice Pat DeWine. Is it a coincidence that his name is the same as the governor? No, it's not. That's his son

Scott DiMauro 8:00
in this race for associate justice on the Supreme Court. Welcome, Judge Zayas.

Judge Marilyn Zayas 8:06
Great to be here. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to share a bit of our Saturday together. So as you've already stated, I'm Judge Marilyn Zayas and I currently serve on the First District Court of Appeals. And it has been my greatest honor serving the community on the Court of Appeals.
I'm one of those folks that when when I was a kiddo, it was expected for me to basically be a statistic.
I grew up in those tough neighborhoods in New York City, a lot of turmoil in my household at a time where there was a lot of discrimination in New York City against people of Puerto Rican descent. And, you know, there were many things that helped me get to this path of where I am here today. And one of those is organized labor, because that gives stability to my family and the most vulnerable time. Also, I you know, I've been very fortunate with so many wonderful people who have been my mentors and have been very helpful along my life's journey, running for the Supreme Court.
It seems every day I have a new reason and it becomes more pivotal. But putting it simply, I see the Supreme Court as being at a crossroads. And this election, and this particular seat will determine the trajectory from an external very extended period of time for our Supreme Court. It's very important that our record is the check and balance for the executive and for the legislative branch of our government, and that cannot be achieved. Without integrity and independence. I proudly am running against Pat DeWine
You know, every day he gives me a new motivation to give my all for this race.

Scott DiMauro 10:06
Well, we're glad you're doing that. And we certainly hope that we can all work together to successfully make sure that we have a court that is really working for the people
So our third very special guests joining us -- the third of the "sisters in law," which I understand you're, you're billing yourselves as, and I think that's pretty cool. I'm going to start using that a lot more is Justice Jennifer Brunner. Many of you know, Justice Brunner, not just as a member of the Supreme Court for the last two years, but from her time as a judge on the 10th District Court of Appeals in Franklin County. And before that, as the first woman in fact, the only woman so far in Ohio history to serve as Ohio Secretary of State .She was raised in Columbus attended Columbus City Schools graduated from Whetstone High School, right up the street from where we are.
She is a recipient of the profile and Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum for her work while serving as Ohio's Secretary of State. She has a fascinating story, and a long history of being someone who is a close working partner and ally with Ohio advocating for public education advocating for our students and for our educators across the states. Justice Brunner is running against sitting justice Sharon Kennedy, for the position of Chief Justice, which will be vacated by current Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, who was prevented because of age requirements and law from seeking reelection. So glad to have you with us, Jennifer. Jennifer is joining us from her family farm up in Columbiana County. And welcome and please introduce yourself to our members.

Justice Jennifer Brunner 12:10
Thank you, Scott. I am so pleased to join you today. And I maintain my home in Columbus where I work during the week. But my husband grew up here in Columbiana County, and we managed to get a hold of a farmhouse that was worse than the Beverly Hillbillies first house and fix it up for our three kids and their spouses and our six grandchildren. So when they come up here for Thanksgiving, everybody has a bed. And for me, I'm in a statewide campaign, this being my fourth, and this is my mental health because I can take a walk in the woods if I want to. So my background also includes work as a Court of Appeals judge and a trial court judge Common Pleas Court. And during the time I was a Common Pleas Court Judge, I started the adult felony drug court program in Franklin County called the TIES program, which is Treatment Is Essential to Success.
The reason that -- well, and one of the other things I guess I should should mention, too, is I have 17 years of private practice experience, started my law firm, when my kids were seven, four and two out of the corner of my bedroom when fax machines didn't cut paper and cell phones were about the size of a lunchbox. So, you know, that really kind of taught me a lot about just the law in general, about -- Well, I think some of you probably are small business owners too. And you know what you faced in cash flow.
And during the time that I am not in public office, I've always gone back to the law firm. And in the time between I was Secretary of State and a member of the Court of Appeals in Franklin County, I had the chance to do overseas work for USAID for the State Department in rule of law work. So I've done work in the Republic of Serbia, in 2012, and 2013, observed three elections in Egypt in 2014 and 2015. And then taught at the Bar Association in Sri Lanka, and provided virtual work for Kazakhstan in 2021. Helping them with civic participation, much of what you are doing as members of labor union in your local areas. Imagine being in Kazakhstan. And, you know, knowing that your government is sort of aligned with Russia, even though you're a separate Republic, and trying to figure out how you can safely petition the government for redress of your grievance, let alone organize like you do now. So I gave them some help in advocacy, leadership and principled negotiation. It's very rewarding work and it also makes me a better judge, when I see how people are managing with less of rule of law than what we have here in the United States.
But you know, that leads me to why I'm running for Chief Justice because I understand how fragile that rule of law is. And we need a court that's responsive and moving forward. And and being a partner with the community and solving problems doing things like drug courts and veterans courts, and also being willing to have the courage to look at what we do as judges, and be transparent about our sentencing. And so the statewide sentencing database allows us to compare judge to judge to judge across the state. And, and, you know, for instance, if we see a situation where a person of color for the same felony offense with the same criminal law background as someone who's white, is getting three years of prison where the, the person who's not a person of color might be getting three years of probation, we need to ask ourselves why that's happening. But we can't do it unless we identify it with transparency, and actually see what's happening. So that projects in the pilot project stage, and Chief Justice O'Connor has been a great champion of it. And she's going to be leaving at the end of the year. And we need a Chief Justice who's willing to move this forward, so that we can see it to fruition because in the end, the courts are there to help people. The courts are there to serve people. And as a public servant, that's what I see myself first, but just one who happens to be a judge. That's the approach the attitude I'll take. And I'll also work to inspire judges up and down the spectrum from the Municipal Court judge all the way to the Supreme Court justice, to be that kind of responsive judge who takes seriously our role in public service and works first and foremost, to provide fairness and accountability to the people that we serve. So the opportunity to speak with you and your past support that you've given me is just fantastic. And I hope to have it going forward. And thank you so much, Scott, for giving me the opportunity to speak to folks today.

Scott DiMauro 17:04
Well, thank you so much.

Katie Olmsted 17:08
Okay, time for some important reminders. Election day is November 8. Early voting is underway now. OEA members can see which OEA member recommended candidates will be on their ballot at We highlighted a few of those candidates in our Educators on the Ballot episode of this podcast, and we took a deeper dive into how OEA members screen and recommend candidates in episode four of the season. I highly recommend you go back and listen to both of those episodes. And while we're at it, I also highly recommend that you subscribe to this podcast so you don't miss an episode in the future. We're on Apple, Google Spotify, Pandora and more. New episodes drop every Thursday. Until next time, stay well