McNealy sworn in; Eileen Roy elected chair

Newly-elected Alachua County School Board member Leanetta McNealy is sworn in as her son, Rodney McNealy, stands by her. (Special to the Guardian)

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 2:51 p.m.

A large crowd filled the chamber at last Tuesday night's School Board reorganization meeting to witness a series of firsts.

It was standing-room-only as newly elected board member Leanetta McNealy was sworn into her first public office.

"Twenty months ago, the journey began," she later said. "And look where I am tonight."

Soon after McNealy took her place on the dais, she nominated Eileen Roy, who is starting her third term after running unopposed this past election, for the position of School Board chair.

With no other nominations and a unanimous vote of approval, Eileen Roy called the regular meeting to order as School Board chair for the first time.

"It feels wonderful to take my turn in the rotation of board chair," she said.

Board member Gunnar Paulson was unanimously elected board vice chair.

Roy had been passed over for the position in years past, and she has said she found the attention she received regarding the matter embarrassing.

Last Tuesday, she smiled widely as she took her seat behind the center chair of the dais.

After thanking her fellow board members for their support, she gave her thoughts on the position she had just taken.

"I hope this is the beginning of a time when the board chairmanship is rotated routinely among the membership of the board — a time when the board chair is seen as a matter-of-fact duty for every board member to take their turn doing," she said. "And I think that everyone on this dais is deserving."

McNealy also took time to thank her supporters and reiterated her goals.

"I am so honored to have the opportunity to implement my goals now: putting children first, empowering all school employees and building collaborative partnerships," she said.

She also said she will encourage teacher autonomy in the classroom and will support increases in salaries and benefits.

Joey Flechas is a Gainesville Sun staff writer.

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