LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – A longtime educator with Jefferson County Public Schools has been named an assistant superintendent for the district and will oversee academics at 23 schools.

Joe Leffert will begin his new role Monday. He replaces Lynne Wheat, who retired from JCPS in June.

"For me, it’s all about helping our students achieve, education is their ticket to a successful future," Leffert told WDRB News on Monday. 

Leffert, who began his career with JCPS in 1991, says he believes his background as an "effective communicator and great motivator" will help students, teachers and principals across the district. He says he plans to spend a lot of time working with Superintendent Donna Hargens and Chief Academic Officer Dewey Hensley and will be out in the schools a lot.

"The student desk is the center of the universe," Leffert said. "You have to go to where the work is and that is in our classrooms."

He joins five other assistant superintendents — Glenn Baete, Amy Dennes, Paige Hartstern, Kirk Lattimore and Michelle Dillard  — who report to Hensley. Each assistant superintendent is responsible for a region of schools.

The schools Leffert will oversee in Area 6 include: the Brown School and Ballard, Central and Fern Creek high schools; Kammerer, Meyzeek and Westport middle schools; Atkinson, Bowen, Breckinridge-Franklin, Chancey, Chenoweth, Coleridge-Taylor, Dunn, Field, King, Lincoln, Norton, Portland, Roosevelt Perry, Wilder and Zachary Taylor elementary schools, as well as two alternative schools.

Leffert has been an evaluation and transition coordinator in central office since 2012. Prior to that he was a priority school manager and also served as principal at St. Matthews Elementary School, a counselor at Carter Traditional Elementary School and a teacher at Cane Run and Kerrick elementary schools.

"Joe Leffert is a proven leader with a wide and valuable range of experiences," Hensley said Monday. "As a former counselor he is aligned well with our efforts to support our neediest students. He understands how to meet the needs of a diverse population."

With two weeks left before the first day of school, Superintendent Donna Hargens has four key cabinet positions she is working to fill: chief of data, management, planning and program evaluation, chief business officer, chief communications and community relations officer and human resources director.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0839 or @tkonz on Twitter. 

Copyright 2015 WDRB News. All rights reserved.