LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - “I am the District 4 board rep!,” newly appointed JCPS board member Joe Marshall said excitedly. "Isn’t that crazy! I am through the roof!”
The day after the Jefferson County Board of Education appointed Marshall to fill the open board position, his enthusiasm is contagious.
“Hype, hype is our big word,” said Marshall.
The District 4 seat, which covers southwest Louisville, was left vacant last month when Ben Gies resigned.
Marshall, an educator of nearly a decade, saw a spot on the board as his opportunity to make a bigger impact.
"They want me to represent the hard workers,” said Marshall. “Those that are getting up every day who just want the best for their children."
After graduating from the University of Louisville, Marshall was a substitute teacher with JCPS and a site director at the YMCA.
He went on to complete the Alternative Certification Elementary and Secondary (ACES) Program through JCPS.
“I fell in love,” said Marshall. “Two hard months of work during the summertime, then straight into the interviews and straight into the classroom. Those are the types of challenges I like and I think my experience with that is exactly what’s needed to take this seat right now. There isn’t a lot of time to learn. We have to get straight to it.”
Marshall was a teacher at Wheatly Elementary for four years.
“My first years were challenging years, but it was years that we had a family and we had a common goal,” said Marshall.
Marshall left JCPS to teach at West End School a few years ago. It’s a tuition free K-8 boarding school for at-risk boys.
"As a black male teacher, I can tell you there’s a huge difference that it makes having someone who looks like you being in a classroom every day and teaching you from the same perspective that you’re living and so I couldn’t pass up that opportunity and that’s what I really want to bring to this,” said Marshall.
Marshall could be the one to shift some major board decisions in the coming months.
A controversial split vote in early August led the district to cut ties with outside law enforcement agencies.The School Resource Officers assigned to 28 schools were taken out of JCPS and put back on patrol.
Marshall said if he was on the board at that point, he doesn’t know which way it would have gone.
“I can’t say at this moment,” said Marshall. “Just being where I am now and having a community perspective, we can come up with an opinion but sometimes we aren’t all the way privy to all the information of what the underlying plans are.”
While the district makes plans for an internal security force that will ultimately be voted on by Marshall and the other board members, Marshall said he hasn’t made up his mind just yet.
“I may have the things that I think are best, but I have to talk to my constituents and see what they want for their kids and see what our administrators want for our schools and what our teachers want for our classrooms,” Marshall said.
Keeping an open mind, Marshall said he’s ready to listen.
“I'm a dad, I'm a husband, I’m a teacher,” Marshall said. “I'm here to serve and no agenda or anything else, I’m here to bring what’s best for District 4.”
Marshall will be sworn in during the next school board meeting on August 27.