Governor Beshear Elected to Second Term as Chair of the Southern Regional Education Board
Kentucky Governor Will Lead New Commission on Pre-K Education


Louisville, KY — Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky was elected to a second term as chair of the Southern Regional Education Board at its annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.
As chair of SREB’s 80-member Board, Governor Beshear will work with other governors, legislators and state education leaders to pursue goals for improving public education and student achievement across the SREB region at every level, from pre-K through Ph.D. Board chairs are elected to one-year terms.
On Sunday, Governor Beshear announced the SREB Commission on Prekindergarten Education, which he will chair in 2014-15. The commission will convene education leaders from around the South to study early education and recommend effective policies to improve it. SREB will announce members of the commission and a timeline later this summer.
“Early learning experiences have lifelong effects, which is why it’s so important to focus on ways to get our youngest learners off to the best start possible, to give them the best opportunities to succeed,” Governor Beshear said. “The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated. I’m eager to get to work with the SREB Commission on Prekindergarten Education, because every child deserves a good start in life and in school.”
Governor Beshear currently chairs SREB’s Career and Technical Education Commission, which reports recommendations later this year on statewide policies for intellectually demanding pathway programs aligned with career opportunities in demand in the region.

SREB Officers

Other officers elected at SREB’s meetings in Louisville this week:

Joe Pickens, president of St. Johns River State College in Palatka, Florida, was elected vice chair of the Board. He co-chairs SREB’s Community College Commission, which will report recommendations later this year. Pickens, a former state legislator and school board attorney, joined the SREB Board in 2005. He succeeds Chancellor Glen Johnson of Oklahoma, who served two one-year terms as vice chair. 

Senator Robert H. Plymale of West Virginia was re-elected for a second term as treasurer of the Board. A member of the West Virginia legislature since 1993, he has been an SREB Board member since 2003.
Delegate Norman H. Conway of Maryland was elected chair of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council at the group’s 63nd annual Legislative Work Conference, held in conjunction with the SREB annual meeting. Conway, of Salisbury, Maryland, was elected to the state Legislature in 1987 and appointed to SREB’s LAC in 2008. Conway succeeds Senator F. Gary Simpson of Delaware as chair of this group.

State Senator Joyce Elliott of Arkansas was elected vice chair of SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council. A former high school English teacher and Arkansas state representative, she was named to SREB’s Board and LAC in 2009.
SREB’s Legislative Advisory Council meets regularly to give guidance to Board programs and address current education topics.