LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After two chaotic and often contentious years for public education, Kentucky’s largest school district could see new leadership.
Four of the seven Jefferson County School Board seats are up for election this fall, including the seats currently held by the board’s chairman and vice-chairman.
Candidates had until 4 p.m. Tuesday to submit their candidacy for the seats, which will be up for election in November. The land will not be officially finalized until Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County Clerk said.
Related: Lawmakers limited the authority of the JCPS board. Now the school board is suing
The four incumbents – President Diane Porter, Vice President Corrie Shull and members James Craig and Linda Duncan – are standing for re-election. All face challengers, mostly from a list of “freedom” candidates.
On Monday afternoon, the Kentucky Liberty Caucus website listed four candidates — Charlie Bell, Steve Ullum, Gregory Puccetti and Misty Glin — as “approved” freedom candidates. By Tuesday morning, however, the listing no longer appeared on the site.
This year’s election cycle could reorient the trajectory of Kentucky’s largest school district as it tries to implement major reform in how it affects children in school while recovering from the COVID pandemic. -19.
Interest in running for a school board is on the rise across the country, with fewer unopposed candidates than in previous election cycles, according to Ballotpedia.
This trend is true in Jefferson County. Two of the four seats up for grabs this fall were uncontested races in 2018, with an average of 2.25 people vying for each seat.
This year, no one is running unopposed. On average, 3.5 people show up for each seat.
In Louisville, some frustrated by the JCPS board’s reluctance to reopen schools in the face of COVID-19, and then by their support for a universal mask mandate, have vowed to recruit school board candidates — or run for themselves. same.
Candidates fueled by similar issues, as well as “critical race theory” and LGBTQ issues, ran for office across the country, achieving mixed results.
School board members serve four-year terms and participate in nonpartisan races in Kentucky.
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Not sure who represents you on the JCPS School Board? Plug your address here – https://www.jefferson.kyschools.us/about/leadership/board-education – to find out which district you live in.
Here is the list of candidates vying for the council this fall:
- Diane Porter (incumbent)
- Charlie Bell
- Carol Travis Clark
- Ahamara Brewer
Board chair Diane Porter is running for what would be her fourth term on the board.
She faces three contenders for the seat representing parts of the West End, Downtown and Old Louisville.
Charlie Bell, Carol Travis-Clark and Ahamara Brewster did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
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- James Craig (holder)
- Steve Ullum
- Gay Adelman
- Sam Cowan
James Craig, an attorney, is seeking a second term to represent Northeast Jefferson County on the board.
“I have worked hard to build consensus in this district, to provide rational and effective leadership to our schools during these unprecedented challenges to public education,” Craig said. “Each of my votes has been based on what is best for our children, our teachers and our school employees.”
He faces three opponents.
One is Steve Ullum, a real estate agent and one of the parent leaders behind the push to reopen schools to in-person learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must prioritize safety amid a growing trend of violence,” Ullum wrote in a text message confirming his candidacy. “We need to improve and prioritize basic skills like reading, writing and math, and we need to include students and parents more in the decision-making process because they are the heart of our school district.”
Retired JCPS director Sam Cowan is also a candidate for the District 3 seat.
“As a retired educator and principal, I know the inner workings of schools,” he said. If elected, he would prioritize school safety and financial accountability while supporting teachers and reviewing how schools are supported educationally.
“Additionally, I will be looking for answers on how the district can reduce unnecessary paperwork for teachers so they can be trusted to teach children both creatively and purposefully,” he said. added.
Gay Adelmann, an activist from the Dear JCPS site, is also a candidate.
“While we now have a historic new assignment plan for students, it will take visionary leadership to ensure we have detailed follow through to close achievement gaps and provide authentic educational opportunities for all,” said Adelmann.
“With the war on JCPS, district leaders will have to stand firm against attacks on public schools by outsiders and crooks and their allies in Frankfurt,” she continued.
- Linda Duncan (holder)
- Matthew Singleton
- Gregory Puccetti
Linda Duncan, a retired educator, is up for a fifth term on the board.
“I love this service and hope to serve another four years,” she said last month shortly before submitting her application.
She faces two challengers: Matthew Singleton and Gregory Puccetti.
Puccetti is a veteran and retired JCPS educator who recently finished fourth in a crowded Republican primary to replace U.S. Representative John Yarmuth.
“I’m running because JCPS is failing its students in the areas of academic achievement and school safety,” Puccetti said. “Furthermore, parents feel their concerns are not addressed by the current composition of the school board.”
Its platform focuses on improving educational outcomes, school safety, and increasing parental listening.
Singleton did not respond to a request for comment before publication.
- Corrie Shull (incumbent)
- Misty Glin
Corrie Shull, vice president of the council, is running for a second term representing parts of central Jefferson County, including Newburg.
“I’m running to finish what we started,” Shull said.
He hopes to see the district’s new student allocation plan – “a big, big task” – fully implemented, as well as the start of the next round of new school construction and the opening of two more education centers. Elev8 learning.
After: JCPS just voted to change the way it affects children in school. What happens now?
He faces Misty Glin, a JCPS graduate who now works as a corporate trainer for a pharmacy and as an assistant professor.
“The pandemic has woken up a lot of parents to what’s going on at their kids’ school and the majority aren’t happy,” Glin said in an email. “I believe we need to put our children first, support our teachers and allow them to do what they love: TEACH!, protect our schools and give our parents a voice!” »
Shull took issue with the idea that the JCPS board doesn’t listen to parents, calling it a “total misrepresentation.”
The council has tried to listen not only to parents, but also to other groups of community members, he said.
This story will be updated.