JCPS Board of Education Sign

Jefferson County Public Schools Van Hoose Education Center on Newburg Road.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Eight of the 11 applicants for the District 4 vacancy on the Jefferson County Board of Education have filed to run for a vacant seat this fall.

Tuesday marked the filing deadline for the Nov. 5 school board election, though District 4 hopefuls can still try to run as write-in candidates.

District 4, which represents southwestern Jefferson County, will be on the ballot this fall because the unexpired term of former school board member Ben Gies, who resigned to take a policy job with Kentucky Youth Advocates July 1, had more than a year remaining as of Aug. 1.

The field of eight District 4 school board candidates is the largest in recent history. The 2014 District 3 election and 2012 District 4 and District 7 races drew five candidates each, according to election results dating back to 2002.

Those who submitted candidacy paperwork with the Jefferson County Clerk's Office are:

  • Dave Whitlock, a former constable who shot a suspected shoplifter in a Walmart parking lot in 2011 and now works as a store director of Bargain Hunt Stores
  • Debra Gray, a self-employed human resources consultant for non-profit organizations
  • Joe Goodin, a retired Air Force veteran who served as director of information technology systems for the Kentucky Air National Guard and also worked as a special education assistant and para-educator at Binet School and Carrithers Middle School
  • Joe Laurenz, a delivery driver for Eagle Paper
  • Joe Marshall, a teacher at West End School
  • Saundra Gibson, business and community partnership administrator for the Metropolitan Sewer District
  • Shameka Parrish-Wright, Louisville site manager for The Bail Project
  • Cassandra Ryan, a homemaker

The Jefferson County Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday in a special meeting to discuss the vacancy behind closed doors.

The board has until Sept. 14 to name Gies' replacement and is expected to meet multiple times to interview finalists and select a new District 4 representative. It will be among the first school boards to fill a vacancy since the General Assembly passed a new law giving remaining members that authority instead of Kentucky's education commissioner.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated that the Jefferson County Board of Education would be the first in the state to fill a vacancy using a new state law. Harlan County's school board was the first in the state to fill a vacancy under the new law, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association.

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