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Gail Strange appointed to represent District 1 on Jefferson County Board of Education

Liz Schlemmer

The Jefferson County Board of Education appointed former communications executive Gail Strange to represent District 1.

The board voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Strange after more than two hours in a closed-door session at the VanHoose Auditorium Monday night.

The District 1 seat opened in October when longtime board member and chair Diane Porter resigned over health issues.

Strange is the former director of communications for the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., which is headquartered in Louisville.

In an interview Friday with LPM News, Strange said she believed she could use her background in corporate communications to help the school board with “messaging.”

“Because I think they're doing a lot of things well, it's just making sure everybody knows what they're doing well,” she said.

Strange joins the board at a time of great turmoil for the state’s largest school district. JCPS is facing an ongoing transportation crisis due to a bus driver shortage and failed transportation overhaul.

District leaders have already warned parents that students will not be guaranteed transportation next year unless they attend their “resides school,” or unless they are entitled to transportation under their special education plan.

That means students at magnet schools and “traditional” school programs may have to find their own way to school next fall.

Strange faced competition fromfour other applicants, including a health care CEO, an education professor, a parent and longtime social worker and a retired JCPS teacher.

According to JCPS attorney Kevin Brown, Strange will be sworn in within the next several days so that she can start receiving emails and communications about board business.

She will have a public swearing-in at the Jan. 24 board meeting.

Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.

Jess Clark is LPMs Education and Learning Reporter. Email Jess at jclark@lpm.org.

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