Ray Alfred, the longest-serving member of the St. Tammany Parish School Board, died Wednesday, according to a news release from the school system.

Alfred, 60, had spent 24 years on the board representing District 14 and was unopposed when he qualified to run this fall for a seventh term in the Slidell-area seat.

The school system did not disclose the cause of death. Alfred attended a School Board meeting last week.

“This is a great loss for our School Board. Ray Alfred was always dedicated to making sure the students of St. Tammany Parish received the best education possible,” School Board President Elizabeth Heintz said in a written statement.

Superintendent Trey Folse praised Alfred’s dedication to the school system and said he would be deeply missed.

“Ray Alfred served the St. Tammany Parish community in many ways, but he was passionate about his work on the St. Tammany Parish School Board,’’ Folse said. “Mr. Ray believed every child had the right to a strong public education system.’’

A lifelong resident of St. Tammany Parish, Alfred was a graduate of Slidell High School and received a bachelor of business administration degree from Dillard University in 1976.

The School Board has 20 days to appoint a temporary replacement and call a special election for the seat, according to Meg Casper, of the Secretary of State’s Office.

Alfred was chairman of the board’s Business Affairs Committee in 2010 and was the Louisiana School Boards Association director for District One.

He was recognized by the National School Board Member Recognition Program for his commitment to public education, according to the school system’s news release.

District 14 includes five schools: Alton Elementary, Brock Elementary, Little Pearl Elementary, Riverside Elementary and St. Tammany Junior High.

Funeral arrangements are pending.