Kentucky Board of Education Members

Published: 6/28/2019 4:57 PM

The Kentucky Board of Education has 12 members. The governor appoints 11 voting members, seven representing the Supreme Court districts and four representing the state at large. The additional member, the president of the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), serves as a non-voting member. The members serve four-year terms and may be reappointed. At the beginning of each fiscal year, the membership elects the board chair and vice chair. 


To contact your Kentucky Board of Education member, please see below or call the Kentucky Department of Education at (502) 564-3141.

        Hal Heiner, Chair
        Term Expires 4/14/2022
        Supreme Court District 4
    Hal Heiner is a longtime Kentucky resident and has been an active participant in helping to shape civic policy. His community activities have included serving as a vice chair of Greater Louisville, Inc. and in 2002 he was elected to the Louisville Metro Council.  On the Council he spent eight years focusing on finding efficiencies in services, government transparency and innovative ways for the community to grow and prosper.  In 2010, Hal was the Republican nominee in Louisville’s mayoral election.
    After receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering from the University of Louisville, he became a partner in one of Louisville’s largest civil engineering firms.  His interest and ability in real estate led him to the position of President of the commercial division of a multi-state development company. In 1997, Heiner founded Capstone Realty which has developed office and industrial buildings helping to bring and keep more than 5,000 jobs in the region.


    Hal has been active in numerous charities and educational organizations including serving as secretary for the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet from December 2015 through April 2018. In April 2018, he was appointed to the Kentucky Board of Education. Hal’s previous education related civic activity includes serving as founding chairman of Kentuckians Advocating for Reform in Education, and Kentucky Charter Schools Association and as chairman of Christian Academy of Louisville School System. He also served on the Asbury University Board of Trustees, University of Louisville Board of Overseers, Summit Academy Board of Trustees and Metro Leadership Foundation Board. 


    Hal has been married to Sheila for 42 years and they attend Southeast Christian Church. They enjoy their four children and twelve grandchildren, especially spending time with them on their producing farm bordering Floyd's Fork.


      Milton C. Seymore, Vice Chair
      Term Expires 4/14/2020
      At Large Member

    Milton Seymore is known as a steadfast advocate for all children to have equal access to a high-quality education in Kentucky. He retired from Ford Motor Company following a 29-year career there. Milton has been active in the Jefferson County community as chairman of the Justice Resource Center, helping to promote community economic justice and to eliminate discriminatory economic practices, and serves on the Board of Directors for Kentucky Youth Advocates. He graduated from the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. In addition, Seymore is an alumnus of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and currently serves as pastor of Energized Baptist Church in Louisville. He and his wife, Sherry, live in Louisville and have two children.

    The Board members include:

    Alesa G. Johnson
    Term Expires 4/14/2022
    Supreme Court District 3

    Alesa Johnson is the Chief Officer Workforce Solutions at Somerset Community College. She collaborates with local economic development boards, postsecondary institutions and the K-12 schools to recruit business and industry and coordinates workforce training efforts. Alesa has more than 11 years of experience coordinating and facilitating educational initiatives in the 13-county Cumberland region of Kentucky. She also has extensive engineering and management experience in chemical and off-shore production operations for ExxonMobil. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in higher education from the University of Louisville. She and her husband, Stephen, live in Somerset and have two children.

    Amanda Stamper
    Term Expires 4/14/2020
    At Large Member

    Amanda Stamper, of Lexington, is a public relations director for Anthem, Inc. and former communications director for Gov. Matt Bevin. She has served as director of communications for Asbury Theological Seminary and as communications specialist for Lexmark International. Stamper holds a bachelor’s degree in strategic communications from the University of Kentucky and is a former PTA president in Fayette County Public Schools.

      Ben L. Cundiff
      Term Expires 4/14/2022
      Supreme Court District 1

    Ben Cundiff is a chemical engineer and an attorney with more than 46 years of experience in Kentucky and Tennessee. Ben holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and law degree from Vanderbilt University. Cundiff serves on the boards of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Fund for Transformation of Education in Kentucky, Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Foundation, Jackson Financial Corporation (Mayfield), Community Foundation of Christian, Todd and Trigg Counties, Trigg County Imagination Library, University Heights Academy (Hopkinsville), Nashville Symphony, Martha O'Bryan Center (Nashville), Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, two Nashville charter schools and the Gatton Academy for Math and Science and Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University. He lives in Cadiz and has two grown children

    Gary W. Houchens
    Term Expires 4/14/2022
    Supreme Court District 2

    Gary Houchens is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research at Western Kentucky University. He teaches graduate courses in educational administration, advises graduate students, maintains an active research agenda, and chairs and serves on students’ doctoral advisory committees. Previously, he served as a principal, assistant principal and middle school social studies teacher. Houchens holds a doctorate degree in educational leadership from the University of Louisville, a master’s degree in teaching from Oakland City University, and a master’s degree in history and bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religion from Western Kentucky University. He lives in Bowling Green with his wife, Holly Payne, and has two children.

    Joe Papalia
    Term Expires 4/14/2020
    At Large Member

    Joe Papalia is from Louisville, KY and is an entrepreneur and chief executive officer of Munich Welding and Deposition Technology Innovations. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has served as their Regional Educational Coordinator. 

    Kathy Gornik
    Term Expires 4/14/2022
    Supreme Court District 5

    Kathy Gornik is from Lexington, KY and is a retired co-founder and president of Thiel Audio, a high performance audio equipment manufacturer which she helped launch in 1977. She has served as chairwoman of the Consumer Electronics Association and on the board of National Science and Technology Education Partnership. Gornik holds a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Dayton. She is chairwoman of Newton’s Attic, a nonprofit education center focused on inspiring young people to pursue engineering, robotics and physics.

    Laura Timberlake

    Term Expires 4/14/2022
    Supreme Court District 7

    Laura Timberlake, of Ashland, is chief operating officer for Big Sandy Distribution/Big Sandy Superstores, a large furniture store chain with over 600 employees and 16 locations. She also serves as chairwoman of the Foundation for the Tri-State and on the boards of Ashland Alliance and Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital. Timberlake holds a bachelor’s degree in human resources management from Park University with minors in finance and accounting. She is also a former bank vice-president and trust officer and has been an active member of the Shawnee State University Workforce Advisory Panel.


    Richard F. Gimmel
    Term Expires 4/14/2020
    At Large Member

    Rich Gimmel is chairman of Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc., in Louisville. He is a staunch advocate for students, has mentored inner-city students and his company runs an aggressive apprenticeship program for student machinists. He helped found the Greater Louisville Chapter of KY FAME, fostering innovative workforce training through apprenticeship-style work-study. Rich previously had a 20-year career in broadcast news. He holds a bachelor of arts in psychology from Georgetown College and an MBA from Bellarmine University. Gimmel serves on the board of the National Association of Manufacturers and is a former board member of the Louisville Urban League. In addition, he volunteers as executive director of the Kentucky Race Track Chaplaincy. Rich and his wife, Angela, live in Louisville and have grown children.


    Tracey Cusick
    Term Expires 4/14/2022
    Supreme Court District 6

    Tracey Cusick is from Union, KY and is the mother of 10 children. She is engaged in many community and education organizations and has a diverse background in homeschooling, private schools and public schools. Cusick holds an associate’s degree in applied science from the State University of New York’s Health Science Center in Syracuse.


    Aaron Thompson

         Council of Postsecondary Education President

         Ex  Officio


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