Read bios for each Kentucky Board of Education member

The Kentucky Board of Education called a special meeting on Tuesday, April 17. (Source: WAVE 3...
The Kentucky Board of Education called a special meeting on Tuesday, April 17. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Apr. 17, 2018 at 7:29 PM EDT
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Milton Seymore was named Chairman of the Board during Tuesday's special meeting. (Source: WAVE...
Milton Seymore was named Chairman of the Board during Tuesday's special meeting. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - These bios were provided by the office of Gov. Matt Bevin (R-Kentucky).

Seven new members were sworn in to the Kentucky Board of Education on Tuesday. With the addition of those members, the board is entirely made up of those appointed by Gov. Bevin.

>> RELATED: Pruitt resigns; KY Board of Education selects charter school advocate as interim commissioner

Board members serve four year terms, so it is not unusual for a governor to have appointed every member during their term.

Here are their bios, in alphabetical order, starting with the newly-appointed members:

Ben Cundiff, of Cadiz, was first appointed by Gov. Bevin in May 2016 to fill an unexpired term. He has been the owner/operator of Cundiff Farms since 1967, was a practicing attorney from 1973-1991, and served as chairman and CEO of Trigg County Farmers Bank from 1991-2000. Cundiff is a graduate of the Kentucky Military Institute and holds a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Vanderbilt University as well as a juris doctorate from Vanderbilt Law School. Among his extensive community service, he has served on the boards for The Center for Gifted Studies at Western Kentucky University, the Gatton Academy of Math and Science, the Pritchard Committee for Academic Excellence, the University Heights Academy, and the Governor's Scholars Foundation.

Tracey Cusick, of Union, is the mother of 10 children and presently serves as the parental advisor to the Kentucky Board of Education. 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.

Kathy Gornik, of Lexington, is the 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 the National Science and Technology Education Partnership (NSTEP). Gornik holds a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Dayton and is presently a non-voting advisor to the Kentucky Board of Education and chairwoman of Newton's Attic, a nonprofit education center focused on inspiring young people to pursue engineering, robotics and physics. She also serves on the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Board.

Hal Heiner, of Louisville, most recently served as Secretary of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. He has also been a member of the Asbury University Board of Trustees, the University of Louisville Board of Overseers, the Summit Academy Board of Trustees, and the Metro Leadership Foundation — an organization focused on after-school instruction for children. Heiner holds a master's degree in engineering from the University of Louisville and is the founder of Capstone Realty, a successful development firm responsible for helping bring over 5,000 jobs to Greater Louisville.

Joe Papalia, of Louisville, is an entrepreneur and the 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. Papalia presently serves as a member of the Council on Postsecondary Education and as a non-voting advisor to the Kentucky Board of Education.

Amanda Stamper, of Lexington, is public relations director for Anthem, Inc. and former communications director for Gov. Matt Bevin. She previously served as director of communications for Asbury Theological Seminary and as a 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 the Fayette County Public Schools.

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. Additionally, she is a former bank vice-president and trust officer and has been an active member of the Shawnee State University Workforce Advisory Panel.

These are the four board members who were previously appointed by Gov. Bevin:

Rich Gimmel, of Louisville, presently serves as a board member for the National Association of Manufacturers and is chairman of Atlas Machine and Supply, Inc. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology and philosophy from Georgetown College and a master's degree in business from Bellarmine University. Gimmel began his career in news editing and worked for several radio stations and newspapers in Kentucky before becoming the co-founder of Atlas Industries in 1993. During his career, he has been engaged in numerous community organizations including a number of public service ministries. For the past year, Gimmel has served as the vice-chair of the Kentucky Board of Education.

Dr. Gary Houchens, of Bowling Green, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration, Leadership and Research at Western Kentucky University and is a former public school teacher, principal and teacher development coordinator. He has conducted significant grant-funded research in the field of education and authored scores of peer-reviewed publications, magazine stories and newspaper articles. Houchens holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and religion, dual master's degrees in history and teaching, and a doctorate of philosophy in educational leadership. He is widely considered an expert in education policy.

Alesa G. Johnson, of Somerset, is the chief workforce solutions officer for Somerset Community College and a former engineering and operations superintendent for ExxonMobil. She holds 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. In addition to her service on the Kentucky Board of Education, Johnson serves on the boards of the Somerset-Pulaski Development Foundation, the Lake Cumberland Regional Training Consortium, the Pulaski County High School Advisory Council, Cumberlands FAME, and the Southern Regional Board of Education, a multi-state education organization.

Milton C. Seymore, of Louisville, is retired from Ford Motor Company and has been the pastor of Energized Baptist Church in Louisville since 1993. He holds a bachelor's degree in philosophy and religion and is an alum of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Seymore's long list of community activities includes current service on the boards of Kentucky Youth Advocates, Kentucky Pastors in Action Coalition, and the American Baptist Newspaper. He also serves as chairman of the Justice Resource Center and hosts a weekly radio talk show in conjunction with JRC's outreach efforts.

Milton Seymore serves as the board's chairman.

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