Michigan State Board of Education member Jason Strayhorn resigned Friday, saying he is moving out of state to support academic and sports opportunities offered to his three children.
Strayhorn, 46, told The Detroit News on Friday he recently sold his Novi home and lost his Michigan residency after 30 years. It was a decision he and his wife made after their three children were extended offers for academic and athletic careers in Florida and California.
“We have tried to continue having a Michigan residence. It became clear, it was too expensive and it’s too much,” Strayhorn said. “It’s very hard, extremely hard.”
Strayhorn said he got into his role on the state board to show Michigan’s school children the possibilities for people of color and lazy in education. He was elected to an eight-year term in 2020.
Strayhorn sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that he is stepping down, a development that was first reported by Gongwer News Service.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer spokesman Bobby Leddy said the governor will be looking for an appointee who will put students and parents first in every decision, while supporting teachers with the resources they need to deliver a phenomenal education.
“This upcoming school year will be the most transformational in our state’s history as school districts have unprecedented resources under Gov. Whitmer’s historic education budget, and the State Board of Education will be a critical partner in this process,” Leddy said Friday. “We will continue to stay focused on putting our students first and getting things done.”
State Superintendent Michael Rice and board President Casandra Ulbrich made a joint statement, saying they appreciated Strayhorn’s contributions to the board during a challenging time and wished him all of the best for continued success in his personal and professional lives.
“We appreciate the voice that Jason brought to the State Board table and we will miss his expertise and commitment to Michigan’s children and educators,” Ulbrich said.
The eight-member Democratic-controlled board, which has two Republican members, appointed Rice in 2019.
It is charged with improving public education for 1.5 million children through recommendations and actions. It has no enforcement powers.