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Joe Marshall Successfully Defends Seat On JCPS School Board

Courtesy of Joe Marshall

Voters in the southwest side of Louisville have elected Joe Marshall to retain his seat on the Jefferson County Board of Education. Marshall prevailed over six challengers, winning with 41 percent of the vote.

JCPS board members unanimously appointed Marshall in August to an open seat vacated by Benjamin Gies. Under a new state law passed this spring, board members were given the power to appoint a replacement, but Marshall alsofaced challengers in the November general election.

Marshall is one of 28 recently appointed school board members across the state who faced an election this year, according to the Kentucky School Boards Association

"Thanks to the voters of District 4. They saw the work that we started and they voted to allow us to finish out the term next year," Marshall said. "The journey continues."

Marshall is a 4th grade teacher at the West End School, a tuition-free private school in Louisville. He taught at JCPS for four years prior to that. Marshall said a few of his biggest priorities are maintaining honesty and transparency on the board and addressing a teacher shortage. He said he thinks he gives the board a better sense of teachers’ perspective on issues.

"This really is a win for teachers and the voice of teachers being heard in policymaking. This is a win for parents who want a strong environment for their students," Marshall said.

“I think that a lot of times teacher voice gets lost, because teachers are busy working and grading papers, grading assessments, and preparing for the hard work that needs to be done,” Marshall told WFPL last month.

Marshall has taken a progressive stance on a number of issues. He has said that families of color have “bore the burden” of the JCPS student assignment plan and that the school board needs to be strategic in developing its own internal security force of school resource officers and “focus on the word ‘resource.’”

"We need to be a groundbreaking district. We’re not going to be able to look at a lot of places and just follow their lead," Marshall said.

When Marshall was selected for the seat, board chair Diane Porter said the board also strongly considered Shameka Parrish-Wright,as reported by the Courier-Journal.

Parrish-Wright actively campaigned for the seat, and took second place in the election. In third place was Dave Whitlock, an ex-constable who is known for having shot a woman in a Walmart parking lot.

Marshall will represent JCPS District 4, which includes the communities of Cane Run, Pleasure Ridge Park, Shively and Valley Station.  

A number of voters at Doss High near the Parkwood neighborhood said they relied on name recognition and word-of-mouth advice to select their preferred school board candidate.

"I want someone that knows what they're doing. I want them to have some kind of experience ... working in a school board for one, but also having the best interest of students," said voter Max St. John.  

Liz Schlemmer is WFPL's Education and Learning Reporter.