Power shift: Smith, Smola vote in new chair, appointee Presberg


Get appointed to your first public office in November and take charge of the school board two months later.

That’s the accelerated career path of Leonard Presberg, newly minted chairman of the Fayette County Board of Education.

The first meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education in 2012 held Jan. 9 included several housekeeping duties that led to a vote for appointee Leonard Presberg to serve as board chairman, Terri Smith as vice-chair and maintained the Monday meeting schedule.

The school board each January elects a chair and vice-chair to serve during the calendar year.

The call to nominate a chairman for the year led to the nomination of 2011 Chairman Bob Todd by board member Marion Key. The nomination was short-lived as it died without a second.

Up next was the nomination of board member Leonard Presberg by board member Terri Smith. The motion received a second by board member Janet Smola.

The vote was 3-2, with Smith, Smola and Presberg in favor and with Key and Todd opposed. Todd after the vote congratulated Presberg, adding that he would work with him.

“I was honored to nominate Leonard Presberg for chair of the Fayette County Board of Education for a variety of reasons,” Smith said. “Fayette County Board of Education can only benefit from the leadership of a chair who supports the work of our superintendent and recognizes the need to build support for Fayette’s public schools. He has the energy, enthusiasm, and desire to do the job. I look forward to working with him to move the school system forward in 2012.”

Next up was the decision on a vice-chair. Smola nominated Smith and received a second by Presberg. Todd also nominated Key, though Key asked that her name be withdrawn. The vote on Smith was taken and received a 3-2 vote, again with Smola, Smith and Presberg voting in favor and Todd and Key opposing.

As for the meeting schedule for the remainder of 2012, the board voted unanimously to keep the meeting nights on Mondays except when holidays fall on that day. The vote came after a recommendation by Superintendent Jeff Bearden.

New Chairman Pressberg was selected unanimously by Smith, Smola, Todd and Key in mid-November from a slate of volunteers who submitted résumés. He has never run for elective office.

He was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Post 5 member Sam Tolbert, who died Sept. 22 of cancer after serving nine months of a four-year term.