Fairfield school board member resigns, replacement to fill term

Fairfield Board of Education member Carrie O'Neal, shown here being sworn in during a 2017 meeting, has announced her resignation from the governing board overseeing the 10,000-student district. O'Neal says she plans to move outside the school system. (File Photo\Journal-News)

A member of the governing board overseeing the 10,000-student Fairfield school system has resigned.

Fairfield Board of Education member Carrie O’Neal announced her resignation Wednesday, citing a coming move outside of the district.

“I am currently in the process of selling my home and will be relocating outside the district,” said O’Neal, who was first appointed to the board in 2017 to fill the vacancy created by the sudden death of Fairfield board member Jerome Kearns in December 2016.

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O’Neal was a long-time volunteer for the school system and a local businesswoman when she was unanimously appointed to the board. She won election and a four-year term in November 2019.

The remaining four board members will now have 30 days to advertise for candidates, conduct interviews and vote on an appointment to fill O’Neal’s seat.

Should the board’s vote end in a 2-2 tie, a local probate judge will decide the appointment.

The appointee will then serve through Dec. 31, 2021 unless they decide to seek and win election to the board in November 2021, which will grant a four-year term.

O’Neal is the mother of two Fairfield Schools graduates and has lived in the district for more than two decades. Ohio law requires school board members to live within district boundaries.

She had been active in past school tax levy campaigns and is the former president of the Parents and Teachers for Children organizations at West Elementary School and Fairfield Intermediate School.

“It has been a complete honor to serve with each of you over the past three years,” wrote O’Neal in her resignation letter sent to fellow board members.

Her stint on the board including the district’s opening of three new schools – Central and Compass Elementary and Fairfield Freshman School.

“During my tenure on the board I have been blessed to have both my children educated in this amazing district, witness the opening of … beautiful new schools, and help lead through a time of global crisis. You each have left an indelible mark on my heart and soul,” she said.

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