Skip to main content
Voice Recognition
X

School Board Recognition Month

Newly elected board members
School Board Member Superlatives 

Kentucky School Advocate
January 2019

Being a local school board member often means a lot of work with little recognition. January is National School Board Member Recognition Month. As part of our celebration, we asked school board members and superintendents to help us recognize board members with School Board Superlatives. 

Featured are just some of the nearly 150 responses we received.
Gene Allen
Longest tenure: 
The nine current local school board members who have served more than 30 years. 

Gene Allen (right), East Bernstadt Independent, 52 years

Frank Riney, Daviess County, 42 years

Ronnie Hicks, Jackson County, 38   

Tom Blankenship, Lincoln County, 35 years  

Ben Coomes, Eminence Independent, 35 years 

Joe Jones, Whitley County, 34 years 

Ronnie Holmes, Graves County, 34 years 

Melvin Vanhoose, Johnson County, 34 years 

Robert Clark, Burgin Independent, 32 years

Shortest tenure:
The 143 new school board members who will begin serving this month. This year’s class of new members (many of them pictured in photo at top of the page) is the largest in this kind of election cycle since 2000, when 150 new members were elected. 
David Turner's family
Vested interest
Board members with multiple children in the district they serve. 

David Turner, Walton-Verona Independent 
All five of David Turner’s children (pictured at right with Turner and his wife, Amy) have gone through Walton-Verona schools. His oldest, Matthew, graduated in 2005; Lanie graduated in 2017; Hannah graduated in 2018; and his twins, Benjamin and Caroline, are in the seventh grade. 

Maria Brown, Boone County 
Brown has four children in Boone County Schools, two in elementary and two in middle school. 

Lucas Joyner, East Bernstadt Independent 
Joyner has four children in kindergarten through fifth grade.

Most social media moxie
These board members use social media with ease, keeping their constituents and colleagues informed by using Twitter or Facebook regularly.

William Fraley, Johnson County 
Fraley shares his love of Johnson County schools with his more than 1,000 Facebook friends, regularly posting district updates, encouraging words of support and positive news. 

Will Barnett, Shelby County 
Barnett uses his growing Twitter following, which includes education leaders, legislators and reporters, to showcase Shelby County Schools and its students, while always using the district hashtag #SCThinksBigger
Tara Heinze
Most likely to be mistaken for a student

Tara Heinze, Simpson County
Heinze (right) who was appointed to the board in September and elected in November, throws herself into all of the activities in the district. Her nomination called her enthusiastic and energetic. 

“She is a blast to serve with even as a newly elected member maybe that energy will become contagious,” the nomination said.

Most likely to say yes
This board member seems to have endless energy, he or she serves on multiple community boards or never turns down a volunteer opportunity. 

Steve Becker, Danville Independent
Becker is always willing to serve. He volunteers for committees, in the schools and attends most school-related activities. 
“When a principal or central office staff needs extra help, they all know they can call on Steve,” his nomination said. “His tireless commitment to the Danville Independent Schools is amazing.” 
 
Danette Humphrey, Paducah Independent 
Humphrey seems to have endless energy. After teaching fifth grade all day, she volunteers to attend education foundation or committee meetings. She is also working on her Rank 1 certification.
Purple Spirit
Most team spirit
Attends nearly every school sporting event, usually decked out in the team's colors.

Deborah Williams, Bowling Green Independent 
Williams, who has served on the board for 25 years, is a graduate of Bowling Green High School. Williams is well known to be one of the Purples’ biggest fans. She and her husband, Rick, have even customized their 1972 Chevy C10 into their personal purple and gold fan mobile called “The Purple Spirit.” (see photo at right) 

Lonnie Napier, Leslie County 
Napier can be found proudly wearing his maroon and gold at all Leslie County Schools events, be it ballgames, academic team meets or any other extracurricular programs. 

Data digger
Analyzes budgets, student achievement data and any other spreadsheet they can get their hands on. 

D'Anne Smith, Carroll County

Smith defines the term data-driven and, in addition to analyzing the numbers, she asks the most important question: why?

“Her knack for data analysis and asking tough questions about the data helps drive the continuous improvement process in our district,” her nomination said. 

Chris Dressler, Bowling Green Independent 

Dressler is the district’s data guru as she reads and evaluates everything. 

“I always know I've made a mistake when she pulls the calculator out on me,” Bowling Green Superintendent Gary Fields said in his nomination.
Diane Porter
Best parliamentarian
This board member knows all of Robert's rules and can probably recite them in order, ensuring that meetings run like a well-oiled machine.

Diane Porter, Jefferson County
Porter (right) recently guided her board though a threatened takeover by the Kentucky Board of Education. 
“She helped to guide us to a compromise resolution while managing rugged debates among board members,” her nomination said. “She never hesitates to consult our attorney when procedures get murky. She is totally committed to doing everything just right.”

Mike Waller, Henderson County
Waller, who has served on the school board for more than 20 years, with some stints as chairman or vice chairman, instinctively knows when the board is out of order “and he is not afraid to stop the meeting to bring us back to center,” the nomination said.
 
Always in the know
This board member follows Kentucky education policy closely and helps keep other board members – and maybe even the superintendent – informed.

Judy Nichols, Boyd County
Nichols, a retired school administrator, reads all of Boyd County schools’ school-based decision making council minutes and internalizes all board meeting information. 

“She always asks relative questions and loves to give compliments to those who do great things for our students,” the nomination said.
Billy Turner
Class clown
This board member proves levity has its place in board service. He or she lifts others up with well-intentioned wit and humor. This board member always seems to keep the crowd entertained.

Billy Turner, Allen County
Turner (right) has been called the Red Skelton of the Allen County Board of Education. 

“He seems to always have a way of thinning the air in otherwise suffocating situations,” his nomination said. “He’s a big kid at heart and has a great love for not only our 3,000 kids, but all kids in general.” 

Steve Tamme, Boyle County
Tamme brings a natural wit and love of all things Boyle County to each and every board meeting. 
 
“He's quick to praise a job well done and regularly brightens the room with a friendly smile and an opportune joke,” his nomination said. 
 
Best education lingo interpreter
This board member knows their ESSA from their EBSP and their CSIP from their CDIPs.

Tracey Williams, Henderson County
As a retired teacher, Williams knows all the education acronyms and she fills her board in about “how it really is in the classroom.” 
© 2022. KSBA. All Rights Reserved.