The decision was made last week following a board meeting on Thursday where former chair Laurae McNally decided it was time for her to take a break from the role, and Wilson was voted in to replace her.
"This is my 29th year as a school trustee and I have been chair more than one-third of my time as a trustee," said McNally. "I've been chair 10 times and now I think it's time for a break."
For McNally, whose most recent stint as chair spanned the past four years, she'd like to continue as a trustee who's able to be more out in the education community rather than on the administrative side of things.
"I would like to spend more time out in schools with students and teachers and not have to go to 8 a.m. agenda meetings," she said. "When you're chair, you're sort of on 24/7, you get emails at all hours of the day and night and you need to deal with them."
Surrey superintendent Mike McKay said McNally's time as chair has been a boon for Surrey schools.
"Laurae McNally has been an outstanding advocate for public education, she's been a great leader of the board and a great spokesperson," said McKay. "I feel advantaged to have been working with her and I think the district's been well-served by her."
As for her successor, McNally said Wilson is more than capable of assuming the role.
"He's been chair in the past, he's got all the experience needed," she said.
Wilson said he knows the responsibilities required and is looking forward to doing what he can to move Surrey's education forward.
"The board wants to have somebody in the position that wants to do it," he said.
McKay said Wilson would be well-suited to the role and looked forward to seeing him in the role.
"Shawn Wilson was chair previously and he brings a wealth of experience," said McKay. "His direction is very much in keeping with Laurae's of the last four years and he has a passion for public education.
"He'll do a good job."
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