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Council Members

The Council is composed of 13 citizen members, a faculty member, and a student member, all appointed by the Governor. The Commissioner of Education serves as a nonvoting ex-officio member.

Sherrill B. Zimmerman, Chair

Sherrill Zimmerman is a retired educator from Louisville where she was a teacher, assistant principal and a magnet program coordinator for Jefferson County Public Schools. She has made numerous presentations at state and national conferences on many aspects of middle school education.  Zimmerman has served on several boards including the Children's Hospital Foundation Board in Louisville. In addition, she holds a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's degree in education and administrative certification, all from the University of Louisville. She is also a member of the UofL Athletic Hall of Fame. 

Length of Service:  July 25, 2012-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2019

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Chair Feb 2017-Jan 2018; Tuition Development Work Group, Budget Development Work Group, 2016-21 Strategic Agenda Steering Committee (chair), Executive Committee (chair)

Benjamin Brandstetter, Vice Chair

Benjamin Brandstetter of Hebron is the president of Brandstetter Carroll Inc., a national architectural and engineering firm with locations in Lexington, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas. Brandstetter grew up in Lexington and attended the Georgia Institute of Technology where he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He worked as a civil engineer in Raleigh, North Carolina for a national engineering firm before becoming licensed as a professional engineer and returning to Kentucky to work at Brandstetter Carroll, Inc. He served six years as a member of the Boone County Planning Commission.

Length of Service:  July 5, 2016-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2020

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Vice Chair Feb 2017-Jan 2018; Tuition Development Work Group, Budget Development Work Group, Executive Committee

Ronald C. Beal

Ronald C. Beal of Bowling Green is president of Luvata’s Tubes Division with their main U.S. operations center in Franklin. Luvata is a global leader in the manufacture of copper tubes for the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. Beal’s more than 28 years in the industry has given him hands-on experience in sales, marketing, engineering and manufacturing in countries around the world including China, Thailand and Mexico. Beal is a graduate of the College of Wooster with a bachelor’s degree in geology and holds a master’s degree in business from Ashland University.

Length of Service:  July 5, 2016-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2017

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Budget Development Work Group, Executive Committee

Joe E. Ellis, O.D.

Joe E. Ellis is optometrist and is the owner of EyeCare Associates of Kentucky in Benton. He attended Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee from 1982-1986, receiving a Doctor of Optometry degree and attended Murray State University in Murray from 1975-1979 receiving a degree in biology. He has served as president for the Kentucky Optometric Association and past Kentucky Trustee. In 2001, Ellis was elected by his peers to serve on the board of trustees of the American Optometric Association. Other honors include serving as president of the American Optometric Association in 2010.

Length of Service:  March 28, 2013-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2018

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Executive Committee, 2018 Nominating Committee

Dan E. Flanagan

Dan E. Flanagan of Campbellsville operates a large farming business and is a retired pastor. He has held several positions in state government, including deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and various positions at Campbellsville University for a number of years. He holds degrees from the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Campbellsville University.

Length of Service:  December 30, 2004-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2016  (but will continue to serve until Governor appointment is made)

Committees/Leadership Positions: Strategic Agenda Steering Committee, Vice Chair Feb 2012-Jan 2015 and Feb 2006-Jan 2010

Kim Halbauer

Kimberly Halbauer

Kimberly Halbauer is a senior vice president and investment advisors executive for Fifth Third Bank, including Cincinnati, Dayton and Northern Kentucky. She leads a team of 150 highly specialized investment professionals in the delivery of planning, investment management, banking and advisory services. She is currently the chairman of the board for the American Heart Association, an active member of United Way and co-chair of the Tocqueville society's FIRST TUESDAY lunches, and serves on a number of other boards and organizations. Halbauer received her bachelor's degree and graduated magna cum laude from Thomas More College, and is a graduate of Leadership Northern Kentucky, Leadership Cincinnati and the first class of Leadership Action. 

Length of Service: July 27, 2017-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2020

Committees/Leadership Positions:  2018-19 Tuition Development Work Group

Lucas Mentzer

Lucas Mentzer of Lexington is an enterprise program manager for acquisitions and mergers with Kofax, Inc. He has more than 16 years of experience in information technology at the state, national and global level. Mentzer holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Centre College. He has been actively involved in the Lexmark mentoring program for high school students across Kentucky who are interested in STEM fields. In addition, he serves as the technical adviser for the Wilderness Trace Child Development Center, a charity organization focused on providing early education to developmentally delayed children.

Length of Service:  July 5, 2016-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2022

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Budget Development Work Group, 2018 Nominating Committee, Kentucky Authority for Educational Television Board (representing state universities)

Donna Moore

Donna Moore of Lexington retired from Kentucky Educational Television in 2004. During her 30 years at KET she was senior producer of public affairs and director of programming before being named deputy executive director for programming and production. She chaired the Governor's Education Transition Team in 2007. She currently chairs the Midway University Board of Trustees, The Women's Network, the KET Authority and serves on various community boards. She holds an associate degree from Midway College and a Bachelor of Arts in business education from the University of Kentucky.

Length of Service:  December 28, 2007-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2019

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Executive Committee, Vice Chair June 2016-Jan 2017, Nominating Committee 2016-2018, Kentucky Authority for Educational Television Board (representing UK)

Kristi Nelson

Kristi P. Nelson

Kristi P. Nelson of Union is general counsel and Chief Administrative Officer for Pomeroy, a Kentucky company that provides IT infrastructure services to clients in North America, Latin America and Western Europe.  Nelson is responsible for the overall management of the company’s legal affairs, human resources organization, internal IT team and facilities.  She earned her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University, a juris doctorate from Salmon P. Chase College of Law and is admitted to the Kentucky and Ohio bars.  She currently serves on the board of the Northern Kentucky Convention Center Corporation and the Northern Kentucky University Foundation.  Nelson recently concluded two consecutive four-year terms on the board for the Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority and the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation. 

Length of Service:  July 27, 2017-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2018

Joe P. Papalia

Joe Papalia is the CEO of Munich Welding and Deposition Technology Innovations (DTI), a medium size steel fabricator that serves the power, wastewater, food and medical industries. DTI is a technology based company that serves customers domestically as well as in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in business administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  Mr. Papalia was a member of the Governor’s Inauguration Committee, and is involved in numerous community and professional organizations including the Young Presidents Organization and Young Entrepreneurs Organization.  He previously served on the Council on Postsecondary Education from July 2016 through March 2017

Length of Service:  Jan 5, 2018-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2023

Vidya Ravichandran

Vidya Ravichandran of Louisville is a technology entrepreneur and owner of GlowTouch Technologies in Louisville. She serves on many boards, including the KentuckianaWorks Board of Trustees; Kentucky One Hospital Foundation Board, Mission and Stewardship Committee; Speed Art Museum, Board of Governors; Fund for the Arts Board of Trustees; Walden School Board of Trustees, Diversity Committee; and DuPont Manual High School Executive Committee. She serves as president of DuPont Manual Regional Science Fair, and is passionate about increasing student involvement in STEM fields and is an advocate for women in STEM. Ravichandran is a graduate of University of Agricultural Sciences in Bangalore, India and holds a master’s degree in molecular biology in horticulture from Virginia Tech.

Length of Service: July 5, 2016-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2021

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Committee on Equal Opportunities

Shawn Reynolds

Shawn Reynolds of Almo is a location manager and loan officer at Independence Bank in Murray. While serving in the United States Marine Corps Reserves, he attended Murray State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration. Reynolds is active in the community and serves on the Murray State Alumni Board of Governors, Murray State University Foundation Board, Calloway County Extension Office Board, Junior Achievement of Murray/Calloway County and the Wrather Museum Advisory Board.

Length of Service: March 28, 2017-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2022

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Committee on Equal Opportunities (chair)

Robert H. Staat

Robert Staat, Ph.D., of Goshen, is the faculty representative to the Council. He joined the University of Louisville in 1976 as a professor of microbiology. In addition to his teaching duties and research on infectious dental diseases, he serves as a faculty senator and is the immediate past chair of the University of Louisville Faculty Senate. Currently, he is a member of the University of Louisville Athletic Association Board and the Coalition of Senate and Faculty Leaders. Staat's education includes a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of New Mexico and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota. In addition to his work in academia, Dr. Staat is a hobbyist, woodworker and president of a model railroad manufacturing business.  

Length of Service: July 31, 2013-present
Term Expires: June 30, 2021

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Tuition Development Work Group, Budget Development Work Group, Strategic Agenda Steering Committee, Committee on Equal Opportunities, 2017 Nominating Committee

Sebastian Torres

Sebastian Torres

Sebastian Torres is a law student at Northern Kentucky University.  He graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in history. Torres was actively involved in the Student Government Association, serving as the executive vice president for the 2016-17 academic year, and attended several youth leadership schools and student activism conferences. He is also involved in his community as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.

Length of Service: August 26, 2016-present
Term Expires: June 30, 2018

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Tuition Development Work Group, Budget Development Work Group, Committee on Equal Opportunities

Carol Wright

Carol Wright of Tyner is president and CEO of Jackson Energy Cooperative, a non-profit electric cooperative headquartered in McKee that serves more than 52,000 members in 15 southeastern Kentucky counties. She has more than 26 years of experience in the electric utility industry. Ms. Wright is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. She also earned a master’s degree in business administration from Sullivan University. Ms. Wright served on the committee to establish the Lineman’s Training Center at Somerset Community College that opened in 2004, and served as chairman of the Advisory Committee for more than 10 years. Wright is actively involved in multiple community and civic clubs in Jackson Energy’s service territory. 

Length of Service: July 5, 2016-present
Term Expires: December 31, 2021

Committees/Leadership Positions:  Tuition Development Work Group, Budget Development Work Group

Last Updated 3/13/2018