The decision to run for the position did not come easily for Ealy and his family.
“This is something that we and our friends have prayed about and talked about for a while now. I knew it was what God wanted us to do when I had several people contact me and asked me to consider running. It would be an honor to serve the people of Cherokee County and especially our youth.”
Nathan and his wife Laura (Oliver) Ealy, a 2000 Sand Rock graduate, have three daughters, Evelyn (10), Charley Kate (8), and Lizzie (2).
The Ealy’s moved back to Cherokee County in 2016 to be closer to family and raise their children where Laura was raised. “Laura had such a great childhood in Cherokee County and after spending time visiting family here I knew it would be a great place for our girls to grow up.”
Nathan and Laura met at Auburn University where he majored in Mass Communications and she in Industrial Engineering. The couple lived in Winston-Salem, NC before moving back to Cherokee County. Nathan spent time in radio and television with the Tennessee Titans Radio Network, Auburn Network, and ISP Sports (now IMG College) before beginning a career consulting and working with churches and non-profits in fundraising. He now works for The Baptist Foundation of Alabama and assists churches and their members around the state in investing, estate planning, and capital campaigns. Laura works as a real estate assistant with Whitetail Properties Land Specialist Ben Richardson.
Ealy says his interest in serving on the school board grew during the early days of the pandemic.
“There were so many tough decisions that needed to be made and I did my best to communicate with the board what we hoped for as parents. I began thinking that maybe I could play a bigger role for all the kids in Cherokee County,” Ealy said.
Other issues around the country have also led to this decision.
“We are very fortunate to live in Cherokee County where we aren’t having to deal with some of the issues we’re seeing nationwide. But we need to have strong leadership in place to ensure our children receive the best education possible and parents have clarity on what their children are being taught.”
Ealy is grateful for the experiences his family has had in Cherokee County schools.
“Laura and the girls have had some amazing teachers here in Cherokee County, many of whom we call friends as well. We have great talent here in staff and administration, and we need to continue to give them the tools to succeed.”
Ealy added that infrastructure will likely be a big priority over the next six years.
“We are fortunate that we have been able to upgrade facilities in the county recently, especially at Centre Middle and Elementary schools. But as we know there will always be needs in the schools when it comes to our facilities, and we have to stay ahead of the game before there are more issues.”
In addition to his work with the Baptist Foundation, Ealy also serves as a deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church Centre and has coached Sand Rock youth soccer for the last three years. The Ealy’s also adopted a stretch of road in Sand Rock to clean as a part of the PALs program in Alabama.
In his spare time Ealy enjoys camping with his family, playing golf, and renting a plane at the Centre Piedmont Cherokee County Airport and flying in North Alabama with his recently earned Private Pilot Certification.