Outspoken businessman Carl Paladino has officially been replaced on the Buffalo Board of Education by new Park District representative Catherine Flanagan-Priore, a pediatric psychologist at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, who was sworn in last night.

This summer, as you’ll recall, the state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia removed Paladino from his seat for violating executive session rules, even though voters had twice elected the former Republican gubernatorial candidate to the school board despite his many controversial public statements.

Flanagan-Priore, who was chosen by the board to succeed Paladino after three days of interviews with 15 potential candidates, said she is aware she will need to represent constituents who may have wanted Paladino to retain his post.

“I want to hear from the people who voted for him as much as the people who didn’t vote for him to make sure I’m representing the needs of the district well,” she said.

Meanwhile, a majority of the board members who brought the complaint about Paladino to the state Education Department after tangling repeatedly with him for several years, seemed ready to move on.

Paladino’s racially charged comments, in particular, sparked plenty of media attention and protests around board meetings – though Elia has repeatedly insisted that had nothing to do with her decision to remove him.

“I’m certainly looking forward to some meetings where the board can get away from distractions that have taken us off the tasks that we really need to do that will push forward the education achievement of the children in this district,” Board President Dr. Barbara Seals Nevergold said.

Of course, it’s not necessarily over. Paladino is appealing the NYSED decision to state Supreme Court, though his effort to block the board from appointing his replacement while his case works its way through the legal system was denied.