Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 28, 2019 12:00 p.m.
The Nassau County School Board began 2019 with all five Board Member slots filled, following Governor Rick Scott’s December 2018 appointment of Russell L. Johnson to replace School Board Member Kimberly Fahlgren, who resigned her position effective August 1, 2018.
As one of his final acts as governor, on December 4, 2019 Rick Scott appointed Johnson, a life-long resident of Nassau County and graduate of West Nassau High School class of ’72. He is a graduate of the University of North Florida class of ‘76 with a BA in Political Science/Public Administration. Johnson retired in 2012 from the United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Service Agency, after 34 years as a State Conservation Specialist. Currently, he is employed by the Florida Department of Transportation as a Weight Inspector and a self-employed livestock rancher of cattle operations. He is married to Nancy Carroll Johnson, who is a retired educator of 35 years with the Nassau County School System.
Fahlgren had notified Florida Governor Rick Scott of her decision to resign in a letter dated March 6, 2018. She resigned from a term that would not normally be up for election until 2020. Although she provided notice in a timely enough fashion that would have allowed the remaining term to be filled by election in 2018, Governor Scott exercised his authority to appoint Johnson as replacement to serve until 2020. However, the position remained vacant from August to December 2018 until the appointment was made.
In 2012, Johnson ran unsuccessfully for this seat. During that election cycle, the Fernandina Observer posed questions to the candidates. Johnson’s initial and subsequent responses are available in two articles on the website.
Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.