Charlottesville City Council announced current Charlottesville School Board member Leah Puryear will fill the seat that was left vacant after previous Council member Sena McGill’s resigned in January for family reasons. Puryear’s term will begin Feb. 27 and end Dec. 31.
Puryear was one of 20 applicants and six finalists considered for the position. She currently serves as a member of the Charlottesville School Board and in higher education administration for over 40 years, including at the University — Puryear previously directed the Uplift program, an organization that works to provide first-generation students with the skills they need to be successful in college.
In the City Council meeting Feb. 6, Puryear said that through her work with Uplift, she gained experience coordinating with Council.
“I've worked with you on budgets, not only for the city schools, but also for some of the nonprofit organizations that I have worked with,” Puryear. “I have developed relationships and these relationships will carry over.”
The vote to elect Puryear to the Council seat, conducted in open session, passed unanimously. In preparation for the vote, there was a closed session meeting Monday during which all finalists were given an individual interview.
Council member Brian Pinkston said the final selection was difficult.
“I appreciate the people that did spend the time and the effort to put in an application to come and sit down with us,” said Pinkston. “It was a challenging decision because there were so many good people, but I’m grateful to have Ms. Puryear up here with us for the rest of the term.”
Pinkston also said he feels good about the City and its future because of the presence of promising younger applicants who expressed interest in public service.
Vicemayor Juandiego Wade, who served with Puryear on the School Board, also thanked all applicants.
“It was very difficult, we were there literally to the last minute because everyone had just so [many] positive attributes to serve on Council,” said Wade.
After being sworn in, Puryear thanked the Council members for their time, energy and effort.
“I am willing to do the work and roll up my sleeves and get started,” Puryear said.