Hixson’s Joe Smith elected chair of Hamilton County school board

Ooltewah’s Gary Kuehn elected vice chair

Staff photo by Matt Hamilton / Candidate Joe Smith speaks in 2022 during a school board candidate forum held by Moms for Liberty at Red Bank High School.

The Hamilton County Board of Education elected Joe Smith, R-Hixson, as its new chair Thursday.

Board members also elected Gary Kuehn, R-Ooltewah, to serve as vice chair.

Both votes passed 9-1. Board member Karitsa Jones, D-Chattanooga, voted no on both motions. Board member Larry Grohn, R-East Ridge, was not present.

Ben Connor, D-Chattanooga, was reappointed as the board's liaison to the Tennessee School Boards Association in a 10-0 vote.

Smith joined the board in 2016 to serve out the two remaining years of Greg Martin's term after Martin was elected to the Hamilton County Commission. He was most recently re-elected in 2022.

Smith succeeds board member Tiffanie Robinson, an independent from Chattanooga.

(READ MORE: Jeff Eversole elected chair of Hamilton County Commission in 6-5 vote)

Before serving on the school board, Smith founded Y-CAP, an early intervention and prevention program at the YMCA that provides mentorship and support.

Kuehn spent 39 years in education and has served as an administrator for Central High School, Hunter Middle School and the former Hamilton County Adult High School, now known as the Harrison Bay Future Ready Center. An indecent exposure charge against him was dismissed in November because the warrant for his arrest had expired.

(READ MORE: Hamilton County Board of Education member has indecent exposure case dismissed)

Contact Shannon Coan at scoan@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.