New JCPS board members sworn in, new chair chosen

Allison Ross

The newly elected members of the Jefferson County Board of Education wasted no time getting their feet wet during the first regular board meeting of 2017.

New board members Ben Gies and Chris Kolb, who now represent Districts 4 and 2, respectively, as well as Chris Brady, who was elected to a second term representing District 7, were sworn in at the beginning of the regular board meeting.

Brady was then chosen unanimously by the board to serve a one-year term as board chairman. Fellow board member Lisa Willner, who represents District 6, was named vice-chair of the board, taking over from Diane Porter.

The immediate past board chairman, David Jones Jr., was defeated in his bid for re-election by Kolb.

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Gies, who is replacing Chuck Haddaway in the District 4 seat, moved quickly to motion to rearrange the evening's meeting to allow public speakers the chance to speak earlier in the evening instead of having to wait until the majority of the board business had been finished.

Such a rearrangement appears to be a long-term strategy for Brady, who said he plans to suggest changes to the order of the agenda in his role as chairman.

During some opening comments after being chosen as chairman, Brady said he thinks that part of being an elected board member means "open discussion. That means asking tough questions. That means using your voice." He said such discussions should not be considered "dysfunction" of the school board.

The board on Tuesday discussed its legislative position on charter schools during its meeting, deciding on several points that it wants legislators to see as best practices in any charter school legislation. The board also ended a fairly long board meeting with the first executive session of the year, to have a discussion that could lead to the dismissal of an employee.

Reporter Allison Ross can be reached at (502) 582-4241. Follow the Courier-Journal's education team at