Iowa State Board of Education Members
The Iowa State Board of Education consists of ten members: nine voting members who are appointed by the governor for six-year terms and subject to Senate confirmation; and one nonvoting student member who serves a one-year term, also appointed by the governor.
Charles C. Edwards, Jr., President
Charlie Edwards joined the State Board in 2000. He was the former dean of two colleges at Drake University: School of Journalism and Mass Communication and College of Business and Public Administration. He was the former publisher and president of the Des Moines Register. Edwards is a member of numerous boards, including the Gardner and Florence Call Cowles Foundation and the Iowa College Foundation. Charlie is from Des Moines. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Colorado.
Michael Knedler, Vice President
Michael Knedler of Council Bluffs joined the State Board in May 2010. He taught in the areas of history, government and economics for 32 years at Iowa Western Community College before retiring in 2002. At that time he received the Iowa Outstanding Faculty Award from the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees. Since retirement, he has been involved in many other boards and community activities. Knedler received his Ph.D. in higher education from Iowa State University.
Brooke Axiotis of Des Moines joined the State Board in 2014. She works at Drake Law School as the Director of Academic Success Programs. She is a member of the Iowa Bar. Her community activities involve the Salisbury House Young Professional Board, Junior League of Des Moines, Friends of Iowa Commission on the Status of Women, and Links, Inc. She earned her law degree from Drake University.
Michael Bearden of Gladbrook joined the State Board in 2014. He is a professional engineer and is the executive vice president of Clapsaddle-Garber Associates, Inc. He served on his local school board for many years where he was president for eight terms and vice-president for two terms. He earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Iowa State University.
Bettie Bolar of Marshalltown joined the State Board in 2016. She is self-employed as the Director of the Community Foundation of Marshall County. She has also served as Vice-Chancellor of Iowa Valley Continuing Education and Training, and Director of Special Projects and Health Education for Iowa Valley Community College; and as a public health nurse. She earned her RN nursing degree from Mercy Hospital of Nursing in Des Moines; a bachelor of science (health arts) degree from College of St. Francis, Joliet, Illinois; and a master of science (higher education) from Iowa State University. Bolar has also been involved in several organizations and activities.
Angela English of Dyersville was appointed to the State Board in 2014. She served on her local catholic school board for seven years and has volunteered at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School for eight years. She earned a degree in business finance from Loras College.
William "Mike" May
William "Mike" May of Spirit Lake was appointed to the State Board in May 2012. He is a retired teacher and owner of Triggs Bay Resort in Arnolds Park. He served as a state representative from 2005-2010 where he was ranking member of the House Education Committee. He received a bachelor's degree from Simpson College and a master's degree from Mankato State College.
Mary Ellen Miller
Mary Ellen Miller of Mason City and Corydon was named to the State Board in 2014. She has served on the boards of North Iowa Area Community College, Hospice of North Iowa, League of Women Voters of Iowa, Iowa Federation of Republican Women and 1000 Friends of Iowa and has been involved in numerous civic organizations and activities. She currently serves as Executive Director of 50-50 in 2020. She earned a degree in business administration from Buena Vista University.
Robert Nishimwe, Student Member
Robert Nishimwe of Des Moines joined the State Board in May 2016. He will be a junior at North High School where he is a member of the National Honor Society. He also participates in student government, Science Bound, cross country, and track and field. Outside of school he serves as a junior staff member at Wesley Woods Camp, and as an assistant staff member for the Children and Family Urban Movement.