Former superintendent, local school board member touted to lead Kentucky Board of Education; formal election later today in Frankfort

KSBA eNews Service, Frankfort, Aug. 8, 2013

Change at the top: Nominating panel pitches Roger Marcum, Brigitte Blom Ramsey to lead Ky. Board of Ed
By Brad Hughes

Barring an unexpected palace coup, the Kentucky Board of Education is about to be led by a former superintendent and a former local school board member.

The state board’s nominating committee unanimously voted late Wednesday afternoon to recommend that the full board elect Roger Marcum as its new chairman and Brigitte Blom Ramsey as vice chairperson. Marcum, executive vice president of St. Catharine College near Springfield, is a former Marion County Schools superintendent and F. L. Dupree Outstanding Superintendent Award recipient. Ramsey, who served 10 years on the Pendleton County school board, is manager of strategic resources and public policy with United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

Marcum is a past president of the Kentucky Association of School Superintendents and the Kentucky Association of School Administrators, the Kentucky Association of School Councils and the Council for Better Education, the group of districts whose lawsuit over inadequate school funding was a key to passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990. 

Marcum's four-year term on the KBE expires next April. To remain as chairman of the state board, he would have to be reappointed by Gov. Steve Beshear and confirmed by the state Senate.

The full KBE is to take up the nominating committee’s recommendations as the last item of business in today’s regular meeting in Frankfort.

The nominating committee, consisting of Jonathan “Jay” Parrent of Madisonville (chairman), Nawanna Privett of Lexington, William Twyman of Glasgow and Trevor  Bonnstetter of Mayfield, met for about 15 minutes in closed session in the state board room before announcing its recommendations.

In an interview, Parrent said Marcum, who has served three years as the KBE’s vice chairman, has much to offer in the top spot.

“Roger has had such a distinguished career in education, has a great understanding of the issues and many positive professional relationships in the state will be a great asset to him in this leadership role,” Parrent said.

“Likewise, Brigitte has been immersed in education issues for a long time, both as a local school board member and during her time here,” he said. “They will make a great leadership team for us moving forward."

Parrent said the committee didn’t set out to send any message by recommending two former district-level leaders to head the state board.

“I think it just happened that these two people came up as being able to understand the issues, but that local knowledge certainly helps,” said Parrent, who is dean of student affairs at Madisonville Community College.

As eNews reported earlier this week, there had been informal discussions among some KBE members about possibly changing the board’s term limit rule of three years in a leadership post, allowing current Chairman David Karem of Louisville to continue for at least one more year.

“Collectively, we felt like those term limits in the bylaws were there for a reason, and that Roger and Brigitte were the best selection for us to move forward in the same direction that we have under David Karem’s leadership,” Parrent said.

Karem will chair today’s KBE meeting, which will include action on new Kentucky Core Academic Standards in science and new requirements for annual training of local school board members. Gov. Beshear and First Lady Jane Beshear are to address the state board this morning on the Graduate Kentucky initiative to raise the mandatory high school attendance age to 18. A Capitol news conference on that project, to be attended by superintendents and board chairmen of the 125 school boards that have voted to raise the dropout age starting in 2015, also is slated for this afternoon.

Today’s KBE meetings are to be webcast live on the Department of Education’s website

Photo above:  KBE nominating committee members (left to right) William Twyman, Trevor Bonnstetter, Nawanna Privett and chairman Jay Parrent discussed characteristics for state board leadership selections Wednesday afternoon in Frankfort.

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