The Chatham County school board appointed Gary Leonard, a retired English teacher, to represent District 4. Leonard replaces Gerald Totten, who died in December.

Leonard, who lives in Bennett, was among six applicants, including two other retired Chatham County teachers, Mary Harris and Trudy Walters.

District 2 school board member David Hamm said for him, Leonard was ‘a very clear choice.”

“I’ve known him my whole career. He’s always been real active in the community at all levels,” Hamm said. ‘I can sum him up in a couple of words: he’s a pure gentlemen who will put kids first.”

Leonard retired from the Chatham County school system in June 2007, and now teaches sixth grade English at Chatham Charter School in Siler City. His wife teaches fifth grade at Bennett Elementary School.

“We are excited to have Gary join the board, said Deb McManus, who also represents District 4. (Due to the number of residents in the district, there are two representatives.) ‘He is very respected in the county and brings over thirty years of experience in education. We believe he will be a strong asset to us and the school district.”

Leonard will be sworn in Monday, Feb. 15.