Houston-area State Board of Education member Donna Bahorich won’t seek re-election

Texas State Board of Education chairwoman Donna Bahorich, who represents part of Harris County, announced Friday she will not seek reelection in 2020 as the District 6 representative.

In a statement, Bahorich said her tenure has been “exceptionally challenging and gratifying.” One of 10 Republicans on board, Bahorich was first elected in 2012. She has served as chairwoman since 2015, after being appointed to the role by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Prior to her election, Bahorich served as a district director for then-state Sen. Dan Patrick. Before that, she worked in telecommunications.

Bahorich oversaw the board’s debates over a wide range of cultural issues — from mandating that history curriculum includes the word “heroic” to describe Alamo defenders, to including Moses in history textbooks — as well as weathering scrutiny of investments made by the Permanent School Fund, a perpetual educational fund that supports Texas public schools.

She chaired the board through revisions of the state’s curriculum standards, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. The board revised the English and Spanish Language Arts and Reading curriculum and streamlined science and social studies curriculum standards. Bahorich will be present for upcoming votes on revisions to health and physical education standards.

Before her election to the board, Bahorich had home-schooled her three children, drawing criticism from some board members, who worried she lacked necessary experience with public education.

“People were suspicious at the beginning, they thought I was anti-public school,” Bahorich said. “But as an American, I care very deeply about public education. I believe I’ve proven the critics wrong on that one. I approach it differently, I look at the broad picture — in some ways, it was an advantage.”

Board member Keven Ellis, a Republican from Lufkin, will take over as chairman after his recent appointment to the role. Bahorich will serve out the remainder of her term, which ends in 2020.

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