Louisville's David Karem is the new chairman of the Kentucky Board of Education.
Karem, a former state senator, was elected by fellow board members Thursday as the education panel wrapped up two days of meetings. He succeeds Joe Brothers of Elizabethtown, whose board term recently expired.
The Rev. C.B. Akins of Lexington and Dorie Combs, a professor at Eastern Kentucky University, will be vice chairs.
Meanwhile, five new board members recently named by Gov. Steve Beshear were sworn in.
They are: Jonathan Parrent, dean of student affairs at Madisonville Community College; William Twyman, a consultant from Barren County; Roger Marcum, executive vice president of St. Catharine College; Mary Gwen Wheeler, a member of the Jefferson County Public Education Foundation; and Martha Jones, a continuing education counselor from Boyd County.
The board also moved ahead with implementation of its efforts to turn around low-performing schools in Kentucky.
Members approved the designation of Atlanta-based Alvarez & Marsal Public Sector Services as an "educational management organization" under legislation passed by the General Assembly last winter. The legislation allows the day-to-day management of low-performing schools to be turned over to an educational management organization approved by the state school board.