The Alachua County School Board unanimously elected District 2’s Diyonne McGraw as its newest chair Tuesday. Leanetta McNealy, the current vice-chair from District 4, will retain her position through a unanimous vote after turning down a nomination for chair.
McGraw will replace former chair Tina Certain, whose term as chair ended Oct. 18.
Certain nominated McNealy for the position of chair at the board’s meeting Tuesday, but McNealy declined to take it and nominated McGraw in her place. McNealy served as the board’s chair in 2020 and 2021.
McGraw won her board seat in 2022 with about 57% of the vote against Mildred Russell, a 2021 appointee by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Although this is McGraw’s first term, it isn’t the first time she was elected: She was ousted from her seat in 2020 for residing just 384 feet outside her district. She was replaced by Russell, who was appointed to the position as part of a larger trend of nominations to local school boards by DeSantis.
Now, with a registered address inside District 2, McGraw has retained her position.
McGraw has lived in Gainesville for more than 30 years and previously served on several school advisory boards, including the Alachua County Schools Equity Community Advisory Board and the Gainesville High School Advisory Council. Her three children attend public school, and her husband is a teacher, according to her candidate profile.
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Alissa Gary is a second-year journalism major who's covering K-12 education for The Alligator. She has previously reported on student government and university administration. Aside from writing, she likes to take care of her plants and play (and usually win) the New York Times sudoku puzzle.