Dallam B. Harper Jr., a former chairman of the Urban County Planning Commission, is the second person to express interest in the District 4 Fayette County Public Schools board seat vacated by Amanda Ferguson when she resigned last week.
“I’ve tried to make time in my life to contribute to the community’s overall well-being and would be honored if the 4th District School Board responsibilities were entrusted to me,” Harper, 66, said Thursday.
Stephanie Aschmann Spires, the former director of a Lexington children’s shelter, also has announced her desire to be appointed to the seat.
Under state law, Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt must appoint someone to fill Ferguson’s spot on the board within 90 days. The appointment will be effective until the end of 2018, which would have been the end of Ferguson’s term. The next four-year term for that seat will be filled in the November 2018 general election.
As planning director, Harper worked on the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government 2007 Comprehensive Plan. He said that early in his professional career, he owned and operated Godfather’s Pizza restaurants in Kentucky and West Virginia.
Harper said he is an accredited member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and is a member of the Fayette County Schools Local Planning Committee. He has lived in District 4 for 38 years and has served on the site-based council at Henry Clay High School and as a Junior Achievement project business consultant at Morton Middle School.
At the Bluegrass Area Development District, he was its senior planner, director of the Regional Planning Council, director of the Regional Transportation Committee, director of the Homeland Security Council and was a grant administrator.
Harper served in the United States Army Reserve and received a business administration degree from the University of Kentucky.
Applicants for the District 4 seat must meet a number of criteria, including being a resident of the district, which includes an area south of Main Street and east of South Broadway.
As part of Pruitt’s selection of a replacement, the district advertises for candidates. Fayette County schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said details on advertising for candidates had not been finalized. Once the candidates are determined, the state Department of Education will create a panel to screen the candidates. The panel could include members of other local school boards or recently retired educators. That panel would be chaired by a Kentucky Department of Education staff member or the commissioner’s designee for board appointments. The panel then would make recommendations to Pruitt.
An applicant must be at least 24 years old, a voter in the school district, a Kentucky resident for three years, and a high school graduate or GED recipient. An applicant can’t hold a state office or be a member of a board that has the ability to tax, and can’t hold a civil or political office. The applicant can’t be directly or indirectly involved in the sale to the board of anything, including services, paid for with school funds. Applicants can’t have been removed from a school board or have certain immediate family members employed by the district.
Ferguson was vice-chairwoman of the school board when she resigned. School district officials have not said when a new vice chair will be chosen. That position is an elected one, nominated by and voted on by fellow school board members.
Pruitt has made one other appointment to the Fayette school board in 2016. Lexington Waffle House owner Ray Daniels was appointed to fill the District 3 seat vacated when John Price, the longtime school board chairman, died.
Two other school board members, Daryl Love, and chairwoman Melissa Bacon, were re-elected to four- year terms in the November general election. Doug Barnett’s four-year term ends in December 2018.