VanHoose Education Center | Photo by Olivia Krauth

Judith Bradley, a candidate for Jefferson County Board of Education, is dropping out of the race, she confirmed to Insider Wednesday morning.

Bradley said in a statement that she is withdrawing to focus solely on her special education advocacy efforts. She plans to officially withdraw Wednesday afternoon.

“I am withdrawing my candidacy for JCPS District 3 School Board to focus even more intensively on advocating for systemic change in the design and implementation of our special education system,” Bradley said in the statement.

Judith Bradley

Bradley is the executive director of JackBeNimble, a nonprofit focused on rethinking how school leaders approach special education. She also was recently appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin to the Employment First Council, where she’ll represent family members with a disability. Her term ends June 30, 2020.

“Attitudes and behaviors which impede student success are deeply embedded in the perspectives which shape policies and behavior,” Bradley stated. “Our present system needs to be designed so that compliance is an expectation, not a destination.”

Bradley’s withdrawal comes hours after new state accountability results showed that a large number of schools are under-serving their disabled students.

Students with disabilities had the lowest transition readiness rate of any student subgroup, with only 17 percent of graduates in Jefferson County considered ready.

An achievement gap between students with disabilities and their peers was the most common reason for a school to be labeled as a targeted support school. Targeted support schools must develop plans to help boost the achievement of any student subgroup not meeting state benchmarks.

“No one individual, no single policy is to blame but taken together, we are failing our children,” Bradley said in her statement.

Bradley was one of four candidates vying for Steph Horne’s seat in District 3, which mainly covers east Louisville. Derek Guy, Jenny Benner and James Craig are the remaining candidates in the district.

Three other school board districts also are up for election this year. Four candidates are running for Lisa Willner’s seat in District 6. Board chairwoman Diane Porter and board member Linda Duncan are both running unopposed in their districts.