Per the department website, the Board "develops and adopts the regulations that govern Kentucky's 173 public school districts and the actions of the Kentucky Department of Education. Department officials follow board guidelines as they both lead and serve public elementary, middle and high schools."
So you'd think Matt Bevin would be interested in choosing people who come from a background in public education, have kids in public education, and/or support public education, right?
I'm just kidding, this is Matt Bevin. He doesn't care about your kid's educations. He's interested in taking those public funds and putting them to good use, like enriching his friends and clergy.
So just who did Bevin stack the deck with?
Rich Gimmel is chairman of Atlas Machine and Supply. It appears that his children attended Catholic schools in Louisville. And like many of my friends with kids in private schools, he likes to comment on what is bad about JCPS on Facebook and elsewhere. But hey, we do that here too.
More troubling is Rich supports charters and vouchers. Rather than work to improve what we have, why not divert that money elsewhere?
According to a resume posted at TheVilleVoice last year, Gimmel doesn't have any educational background or work experience in public education. But he is, like Bevin, active in Southeast Christian Church. Southeast led an effort a few years back to find ways for public educators to bring religion into schools with a group called LACES. An organizing meeting of the group openly questioned sound science and made it clear that they have issues with JCPS' progressive stance on LGBT issues.
Milton is another Louisvillian. Nothing I can find in Milton Seymore's background indicates an academic history with a background in education, or experience teaching in the public schools. Milton is, however, a director in one of Hal Heiner's Kentucky Public Charter Schools Association, one of the groups Heiner created to bring charters to Kentucky. He's also called for charters and vouchers publicly. Gay Adelmann of the advocacy group Dear JCPS indicated on Facebook that Seymore was one of the ministers at a forum with Matt Bevin in favor of charters and vouchers, and that the group's motivations weren't necessarily about a better education, but to counteract LGBT friendly policies put in place at JCPS.
Gary Houchens is also a member of Hal Heiner's Kentucky Public Charter Schools Association, and is a vocal supporter of charters. Unlike Heiner and Seymore, he actually has an educational background, which, according to his CV, includes four years of teaching and more time as an administrator at a combination of private and public schools.
Gary Houchens is listed by the Bluegrass Institute as one of their "Policy Scholars". The Bluegrass Institute is a right wing, anti-government "think tank" that has continually attacked JCPS and its teachers, often with misleading information. It wants to privatize public education in the state.
According to the news media, Cundiff is a chemical engineer and an attorney. He's an officer of the Governor's Scholars Program Foundation, and an officer of the Fund for Transforming Education in Kentucky. He's also on the board of a Nashville charter school. Cundiff's political donations are to individuals who tend to support privatizing education.
I can find no additional information on Alesa beyond what has been reported, that she's an electrical engineer and serves as associate dean for Workforce Solutions at Somerset Community College.