NEW CANAAN — After three years the Board of Education will have a new chairman.

Before its regular meeting on Monday night, the board held elections for chairman, vice chairman and secretary. First Selectman Kevin Moynihan presided over the brief meeting.

Board member Brendan Hayes was elected chairman by a 7-2 vote.

“He has been a thoughtful leader on the Board of Education,” outgoing Chairwoman Dionna Carlson said during a special meeting held in New Canaan High School.

Hayes has served as chairwoman of the group’s Educational Resources Committee and was instrumental in updating the Board of Education’s facilities rental policies, Carlson said. He is a Democrat who has served on the elected body for three years.

Hayes and his wife have three children in New Canaan schools and he has volunteered as a youth sports coach in town, Carlson said in her nomination. He also serves on the Newcomb Tulane College Dean’s Advisory Council at Tulane University.

“I enthusiastically endorse his nomination for chair,” Carlson said.

Board members Maria Naughton and Tom Cronin voted against Hayes. No one else was nominated.

Despite stepping down, Carlson will still have a prominent role on the board. She was elected vice chairman by a 7-2 vote. Carlson has served as chairwoman for three one-year terms, with the board temporarily suspending their bylaws to allow her third term. This was done to have some consistency while other town boards’ leaderships changed.

“You’re leadership and collaboration and relationship building you brought to the town bodies has been significant for the district and for students,”Board member Sheri West said of Carlson’s dedication. “You’re commitment is amazing.”

Board member Penny Rashin also sung Carlson’s praises.

“You have been an amazing leader for the Board of Education and the students,” Carlson said. “Thank you for your great service.”

Naughton and Cronin voted against Carlson. No one else was nominated for the position.

“We have a great board, great administration, it’s not always easy but it’s always a pleasure working with everybody,” Carlson said. “Nobody goes through this without wanting to do what’s best for kids and families.”

Jennifer Richardson, a Republican board member, was unanimously elected secretary for a third term.

West, who nominated Richardson, called her the “MVP” volunteer for New Canaan Public Schools.

“We are a better board because of Jenn’s thoughtful nature, her discipline and her diligence,” West said. “I’m happy and honored to nominate her as secretary.”

The Board of Education is currently composed of six Republicans and three Democrats.

dj.simmons@hearstmediact.com, 203-842-2568