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The decision to run for the job was not easy for Ealy and his family.

“This is something we and our friends have been praying and talking about for a while now. I knew this was what God wanted us to do when several people contacted me and asked me to consider 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 Ealys moved back to Cherokee County in 2016 to be closer to their family and raise their children where Laura grew up. “Laura had such a great childhood in Cherokee County and after spending time visiting her family here, I knew it would be a great place for our daughters to grow up.”

Nathan and Laura met at Auburn University where he majored in mass communications and she majored in industrial engineering. The couple lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina 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 starting a consulting career and working with churches and nonprofits in fundraising. He now works for the Baptist Foundation of Alabama, assisting churches and their members statewide with investments, estate planning, and fundraising. 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 at the start of the pandemic.

“There were so many tough decisions to make and I did my best to communicate to the board what we hoped for as parents. I started thinking maybe I could play a bigger role for all the kids in Cherokee County,” Ealy said.

Other issues across the country also led to this decision.

“We are very lucky to live in Cherokee County where we don’t have to deal with some of the issues that we see nationally. But we need to have strong leadership in place to ensure that our children receive the best possible education and that parents know clearly what their children are learning.

Ealy is grateful for the experiences his family has had at schools in Cherokee County.

“Laura and the girls have had amazing teachers here in Cherokee County, many of whom are also friends. We have great talent here in staff and administration, and we must 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 to have been able to upgrade county facilities recently, particularly in middle and elementary schools in the center. But as we know there will always be needs in schools when it comes to our facilities, and we need to stay ahead of the curve before there are more problems.

In addition to his work with the Baptist Foundation, Ealy is also a deacon and Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church Center and has coached Sand Rock youth soccer for the past three years. The Ealys also adopted a stretch of road in Sand Rock to clean up as part of the PAL program in Alabama.

In his spare time, Ealy enjoys camping with his family, golfing, renting a plane at the Center Piedmont Cherokee County Airport, and flying around northern Alabama with his recently obtained private pilot certification.

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