Bailey Academy principal appointed to fill vacant DACC board seat

Bailey Academy principal appointed to fill vacant DACC board seat

DANVILLE — A longtime Danville schools administrator is Danville Area Community College's newest trustee.

At a special meeting on Monday, trustees approved appointing Tracy Cherry, principal of Kenneth D. Bailey Academy, to fill a vacancy that was created when Tonya Hill resigned on Aug. 10.

Hill, of Catlin, stepped down when she became a finalist for executive director of the DACC Foundation. She was hired for the post at the end of August and began on Monday.

Cherry, of Danville, will serve until the April 2019 election, when voters will elect someone to serve the remaining two years of Hill's term.

Chairman Dave Harby said the DACC board met about a week ago to discuss filling the vacancy.

"We discussed several names in the community," Harby said, adding Cherry's rose to the top because of her background in education and rapport with students, among other things.

"She's very well-respected in the community," he said of Cherry, an educator for 36 years.

While the board considered both male and female candidates, Harby said members were pleased to add a woman to the panel, which is all-male except for student Trustee Addison Wise, who is a non-voting member.

Cherry said her association with DACC began years ago when she worked at the fitness center.

While she hadn't considered throwing her name into the ring for trustee before Harby approached her, she said she's honored and excited to have a chance to help lead the college and move it forward and impact students in a new capacity.

A Palmyra, N.J., native, Cherry moved to the Midwest to be closer to her brother, Deron Cherry, when he played Kansas City Chiefs.

She taught health and P.E. and coached in a K-12 private school in Kansas City, Mo., for seven years and then taught in the public school system for a year.

In 1990, Cherry moved to Danville to teach P.E. — first at Edison Elementary, then at Garfield.

Following a short stint in St. Louis, she returned to Danville and taught and coached at North Ridge Middle School and Danville High School, before moving into administration.

Cherry served as an assistant principal at North Ridge and DHS; as Garfield's principal during its centennial year; then returned to DHS as an associate principal.

She was named director of the district's alternative school programs and was largely responsible for shaping them.

"I definitely think I can bring a unique perspective," said Cherry, who wants to expose students to the campus at a younger age to get them thinking about and planning for college. "If I can be part of bridging that gap, I'm all about that."

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