David Karem

Published: 8/2/2022 3:57 AM

At-Large Member, Chairman

David Karem of Louisville has been a champion of public education for more than 40 years while serving in the Kentucky General Assembly and the Kentucky Board of Education. His efforts in both venues have been crucial in shaping state-level education policy that ensures Kentucky's children can compete in today's global economy.

Karem is in his second stint with the board, having previously served as a member from 2009 to 2016 and as chairman from 2010 to 2013.

The David Karem Award, later renamed the Karem Award for Excellence in Education Policy, was established in 2017 by the Kentucky Board of Education in his honor to recognize state policymakers, education leaders or citizens who have made notable, state-level contributions to the improvement of Kentucky's public education system. The award was first presented in 2017.

Karem served in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1972 to 1974. He returned to the legislature two years later, this time representing the 35th District in the Kentucky Senate from 1976 to 2004. He was the Senate's majority floor leader from 1993 to 1999, and he was on education committees in the House and Senate for 32 1/2 of his 33 years in public office.

During him time in the legislature, Karem was a driving force behind the passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990 and the Postsecondary Education Reform Act in 1997 and led the effort for a 4% school tax levy by districts.

Karem served for 33 years as president of Louisville's Waterfront Development Corporation, which has worked to develop and maintain the city's Waterfront Park. He began a one-year term as director emeritus upon his retirement in July 2019. He also was a member of the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation's board of directors from 2006 to 2018.

Karem holds a bachelor's degree in architecture, art and planning from the University of Cincinnati and a doctorate in law from the University of Louisville.

He is a graduate of St. Xavier High School in Louisville.

David Karem served on the Kentucky Board of Education from Dec. 12, 2019, to April 15, 2020.

KBE Spotlight | David Karem has deep roots in Kentucky public education

David Karem Picture

Joette Fields
Office of the Commissioner of Education
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-3141 
Fax (502) 564-5680

  • Normal Font Size