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2 Gainesville school board members won't seek re-election

Two incumbent Gainesville City School System board members said Monday they are not seeking re-election this fall.

Brett Mercer and Delores Diaz said they will be leaving the board when their terms expire on Dec. 31. Mercer is the current board chairman, and Diaz served as chairwoman for two years before Mercer.

Mercer, who was elected to his only term four years ago, said his job situation is among the reasons for his decision.

“It is not as easy as it once was to attend everything that I would like to attend,” Mercer said of the effect of his new job on his work with the school board. He added the best thing about being on the school board was being able to give high school diplomas to two of his children who graduated from Gainesville High — Morgan in 2014 and Caroline in 2017.

Diaz, who is completing her eighth year on the board, said the decision will give her and her husband more time to spend with family.

“I’m not getting any younger; my husband and I have some things we’d like to do,” she said. “We have a very large family and would like to spend more time with them.”

She added that being a member of the school board is “very demanding.”

“People just see us twice a month in meetings, but we have so many things going on behind the scenes, attending different events or meetings for this or that,” she said. “I just need a break.”

Gainesville Superintendent Jeremy Williams, who took office July 1, said he has appreciated both Mercer and Diaz and their contributions to the board.

“When I went through the interview process, you get to know school board members in a different way; you get to know them professionally and personally,” Williams said. “The last few months for me has just been a pleasure to work with both Dr. Diaz and Brett Mercer. Brett, being the chair, obviously most of my communication was with him. Being able to see what they feel like is best for Gainesville, I know aligns with what I believe is best for Gainesville. I hope that whoever replaces both of them still have the kids in mind and are able to take those reins and continue on with them.”

One candidate has filed for each of the two seats on the school board through the first two days of qualifying this week. Andy Stewart has filed for Mercer’s District 1 seat and Heather Ramsey has filed for Diaz’s District 4 seat. The incumbents said they had each talked with the candidates who filed in their district prior to the beginning of the qualifying period Monday.

Qualifying for the two school board seats ends today at 4:30 p.m. The filing fee is $174.60.

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