The county school board meets regularly at the VanHoose Education Center. | Photo by Olivia Krauth

Two Jefferson County Board of Education incumbents are running unopposed for re-election this year, according to final candidate listings from the Jefferson County Clerk.

Four of JCBE’s seven seats are up for election this November, with interested candidates having until 4 p.m. Tuesday to file to run. Chairwoman Diane Porter is running for re-election in District 1, and board member Linda Duncan is running in District 5.

Current board members Lisa Willner and Steph Horne are not running for re-election, guaranteeing at least two new faces on the board that oversees Kentucky’s largest district. Willner is running for state representative, and Horne is rumored to be running for lieutenant governor next year.

School board elections are staggered, so three board members — Chris Kolb, Chris Brady and Ben Gies — will not be up for re-election until 2020. All board members serve four-year terms.

Election season comes at a tumultuous time for Jefferson County Public Schools as a potential state takeover looms. When new school board members begin their terms in January 2019, they will likely deal with the aftermath of a potential settlement or hearing outcome between JCPS and the state, including a potential loss of their power.

In April, interim Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis recommended a state takeover for JCPS as a result of a yearlong audit finding multiple deficiencies in the district.

Under the recommendation, JCPS Superintendent Marty Pollio would oversee the day-to-day operation of the district, reporting to Associate Commissioner Kelly Foster and Lewis instead of to the JCBE. The locally elected board would be reduced to an advisory role under the plan.

Jefferson County residents can use JCPS’ school board member finder tool to determine which district they live in.

Diane Porter

District 1

Porter, the current chair, is the only candidate running in District 1, which covers most of West Louisville.

This will be her third term on the board, as she initially ran in 2010. Porter also ran unopposed in 2014, receiving 98.5 percent of the vote. The other 1.5 percent went to write-in candidates.

District 3

Five candidates are running for Horne’s seat, which covers some of East Louisville.

Attorney James Craig, Worthington Hills Mayor Glenn Sea, Derek Guy, Judith Bradley and Jenny Benner, the senior director of a YMCA Child Development Center, are currently on the ballot.

Sea, however, does not live in District 3, a county clerk spokesman confirmed to Insider.

The Jefferson County Board of Elections accepts filing papers “at face value,” the spokesman said. An “interested party” could challenge with the county attorney, he said.

Sea did not respond to request for comment about the situation.

District 5

Duncan is running unopposed in District 5, which covers south Louisville.

This will be her fourth term on the board.

Dr. Lisa Willner

District 6

Willner’s spot in District 6, which covers central Louisville, has plenty of competition with four candidates.

Angela Smith, Waymen Eddings, Corrie Shull and Nicole Aghaaliandastjerdi are all in the running. Willner said she believes her district has lots of competition because people have known since May that she would not run for re-election.

Shull, a pastor, is the only candidate across all districts to already have endorsements. Willner endorsed him before he announced his candidacy, and Kolb, a board member not up for re-election this cycle, endorsed him on Twitter soon after he filed.

“Corrie leads a congregation with a strong educational mission and understands the vision and the power of public education to transform lives,” Willner told Insider Louisville. “Corrie will be an outspoken advocate for students, teachers, and for deep, engaging, and culturally relevant classroom experiences.”

This story has been updated to include Bradley’s filing. This story may be updated again with late filings. 

Before joining Insider Louisville, Krauth was a multiplatform reporter at TechRepublic, where she wrote news stories and features about the intersection of technology and business. Krauth is a graduate of the University of Louisville, where she was an award-winning editor of The Louisville Cardinal and obtained a degree in investigative journalism, with a minor in Russian studies. She completed a prestigious Dow Jones data internship at the Austin American-Statesman last summer. Email Olivia at [email protected]


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