Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer entered the education debate and publicly endorsed former Humana Inc. Chairman David Jones Jr. for Jefferson County school board on Thursday.

The businessman is running for the District 2 seat, which covers the Highlands and Crescent Hill neighborhoods. He is facing Elizabeth Berfield, Phil Haming and George Tolhurst. 

During a panel discussion at the Leadership Louisville Luncheon, Fischer said there are gaps in public education that need to be addressed, and that residents should follow Jones’s lead and take those challenges on.

“Our goal is to be the best large public school district in the country, period,” he says. “And you’re seeing that with this school board race that we have right now. Unprecedented amount of people are running. You’re seeing a great community leader like David Jones step up to say, ‘I want to make a difference in this as well.'”

Fischer was discussing education policy with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who as a keynote speaker at the event. When asked by WHAS-11 political editor Joe Arnold if his remarks were a nod of support for Jones, Fischer said: “absolutely.”

There are almost a dozen candidates running for three open seats on the school board this year. And several observers are waiting for a ruling in a suit before the Kentucky Supreme Court challenging the controversial JCPS student assignment plan.

The mayor says his support is based in part on Jones’s ability to marshal support and get attention from the city’s business  leaders to get more involved in the education process.

“He will badger the heck out of the business community so we engage like never before with JCPS to do what needs to be done,” says Fischer.