Governor Ernie Fletcher’s Communication Office
Governor Fletcher Appoints Members to the State Board of Education

Press Release Date:  Friday, February 24, 2006  
Contact Information:  Brett Hall
Jodi Whitaker
Troy Body

Appointees bring more than 180 years of experience

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today announced seven appointees to the Kentucky Board of Education, a 12-member board representing all geographic regions of Kentucky.

“The responsibility of being a member of the Kentucky Board of Education is truly unique,” said Governor Fletcher. “These nominees will work with Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit to determine how best to accelerate academic achievement for our nearly 650,000 elementary and secondary students.

“We have made measurable progress in recent years, but the mission of the Board of Education is to assist all schools to meet proficiency by 2014 and to assure each child is given the maximum opportunity to achieve at high levels,” said Governor Fletcher.

“Each of the appointees offers a wealth of experience, knowledge, ideas and leadership skills,” said Governor Fletcher. “All combined, these appointees bring with them more than 180 years of experience in the classroom, or education related activities. I urge the House and Senate to confirm them before the current members’ terms expire in mid-April.”

The Kentucky Board of Education has 12 members, with the governor appointing 11 voting members -- seven representing the Supreme Court districts and four representing the state at large. The additional non-voting member is the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, Dr. Thomas Layzell.

The Kentucky Board of Education develops and adopts the regulations that govern Kentucky’s 176 public school districts. While the board has legal authority to establish performance standards for local school districts and to mandate corrective actions, the board respects the local autonomy of each school district.

The members serve four-year terms, and are not paid, but receive modest reimbursement for expenses and travel. The Kentucky Board of Education meets two days every other month statutorily, either at the Frankfort offices of the Kentucky Department of Education, or at other locations across the state. The board has three standing committees: management support, learning support/learning results and internal audit. Special task forces and work groups are appointed, as needed. These appointees’ terms will expire in April 2010.

The seven appointees are:

  • Dr. C.B. Akins, Sr., of Fayette County. Akins is the pastor of First Baptist Bracktown in Lexington. He earned a bachelor’s degree in social work with honors from the University of Kentucky, and both a master’s of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Lexington Theological Seminary. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a multilingual interpreter and later taught foreign languages in the military intelligence division of the U.S. Army Reserves. Akins has studied eight languages. His ministry includes Adopt-A-School, a program of the African-American Educational Coalition involving the adoption of Leestown Middle School by his congregation. Under this program, they offer mentoring to students, help monitor testing, assist on field trips and offer assistance to students at the school, including quarterly rewards for P-16 students. His community involvement includes his service on the Commerce Lexington Board of Directors, Fayette Educational Foundation Board of Directors, One Community One Voice Board of Directors, and the University of Kentucky President’s Commission on Diversity. Akins serves as a spiritual consultant to Coach Tubby Smith and the UK basketball team and formerly served Coach Bill Curry and the UK football team. He and his wife, Roszalyn, are the parents of four children.
  • Kay Baird of Pikeville.  Baird earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Union College in 1962 and a bachelor’s in elementary education from Pikeville College in 1966.  She taught for many years in the Clark County school system. Baird was a former member of the Pikeville Independent Board of Education, having served for six years.  She is a past member of the executive board for the Wilderness Road Girl Scout Council and served as leader and service unit chairman. Baird currently serves as a statewide member of the Presbyterian Homes and Services Board and is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Pikeville, where she has served as an elder and chairman of the Christian Education Committee. She and her husband, William J. Baird, III, have three grown children and four grandchildren. One of her daughters has followed in her footsteps and is a kindergarten teacher in the Pikeville school system.
  • Wilburn “Joe” Brothers of Elizabethtown. Brothers is the plant manager at Gates Corp., and formerly was a space flight engineer for Lockheed Missiles & Space Corp. He graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Brothers served on the U.S. Department of Education Appalachia Regional Advisory Committee and serves on the Elizabethtown Independent Schools Board of Education. He is the past-president of the Kentucky School Board Association. Brothers has received numerous awards, including the Warren S. Proudfoot Outstanding School Board Member, the Charles C. Gates award from Gates Corp., Outstanding Service to Management Development award from the Hardin County Chapter of National Management Association and the NASA Tech Brief Award. He is a member of the Elizabethtown Church of Christ and has participated in several missionary trips to the Ukraine. Brothers and his wife, Dorothy, have five children and have been involved in foster care programs for over 25 years.
  • Jeanne H. Ferguson of Louisville.  Ferguson earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Ursuline College in Louisville and a master’s in communications from the University of Kentucky. In 1970, she became an instructor of communication at the University of Kentucky following a fellowship studying communication in Yugoslavia. Ferguson was named assistant professor of communication at Jefferson Community College in 1973 and accepted a position as full professor from 1980-1997. Since 1997, she has served as an adjunct professor at Spalding University, Bellarmine University and Jefferson Community and Technical College. She is a board member of the Louisville Deaf Oral School and the Louisville Theatrical Association and was chair of the American Heart Association’s Crystal Heart Gala in 2002. She was a board member of the Kentucky Derby Festival from 1998 to 2000. Ferguson and her husband, David, have one child, Virginia Ferguson Cheatham.  
  • John Douglas Hubbard of Bardstown. Mr. Hubbard is an attorney in the firm of Fulton, Hubbard & Hubbard. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business at the University of Kentucky and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Kentucky College of Law. Hubbard previously served as attorney for Bardstown Independent School District and as city attorney for the City of Bloomfield. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the Bardstown Foundation for Excellence in Public Education, Kiwanis and Bardstown United Methodist Church. He continues his volunteer involvement in the Bardstown school system, serving as the timekeeper for the Bardstown High School football team. Hubbard and his wife, Judy, have two grown children, both who graduated from Bardstown public schools. 
  • R. Keith Travis of Marshall County. Travis is being reappointed to the Kentucky Board of Education and currently serves as chairman. He is vice-president of human resources for the Murray/Calloway County Hospital. Travis graduated from North Marshall High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky. Travis has served as a member and past chairman of the Marshall County Board of Education, a member of the Kentucky School Board Association Board of Directors and past chair of the Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He is active in the Murray Rotary Club, Calloway County ASAP and is a current board member of the United Way of Murray/Calloway County. Travis is an elder in the Benton Church of Christ. He and his wife, Joan, have two children.
  • Dr. Gail W. Wells of Fort Thomas. Wells is vice-president for academic affairs and provost at Northern Kentucky University (NKU). She earned a bachelor’s in mathematics from Eastern Kentucky University, a master’s in mathematics education from NKU and a doctorate of education from the University of Cincinnati. Wells previously served at NKU as the chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of mathematics and computer science. Wells’ memberships in numerous professional societies include: the Mathematical Association of America, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and American Association for Higher Education. She has served on many statewide committees, including coordinating an Early College Mathematics Placement Exam pilot project involving more than 6,000 juniors in high schools. In 2003, Wells was bestowed the Outstanding Woman of Northern Kentucky Award. She and her husband, Charles, are the parents of two children.

The seven appointees join four at-large members who were appointed by Governor Fletcher in January 2004, and confirmed by the House and Senate. They are: Bonnie Freeman, of Louisville; David Rhodes, of Mount Sterling; David Webb, of Brownsville; and Dr. Jana Vice, of Richmond. At the time of their appointment and confirmation in 2004, the four at-large board members had a collective total of more than 90 years of experience in education-related activities. The at-large members’ terms expire April 14, 2008. 

“When I read their resumes, I was impressed with the commitment to children each of these people have made by volunteering their expertise, time and attention to our schools,” said Governor Fletcher. “And in meeting them, I am even more convinced that they will be excellent board members because they truly care about Kentucky’s school children.”