Doris J. Nipps was elected to the Washington County Commissioners in November 2002. She gave up her school board seat the following month.
A committee of board members and people from the community reviewed applications to replace Nipps and made recommendations to the governor.
W. Princeton Young was appointed to fill out her term.
Forrest's sudden move caught his colleagues off guard.
He shared the news with his colleagues Friday morning through a fax.
"I was overwhelmed, shocked and surprised," board member Paul Bailey said.
Board member Bernadette Wagner learned of Forrest's resignation when a reporter called her. After some time to think, she left a voice-mail message.
"As a member of the elected board of education, I knew how time consuming service can be," Wagner said. "It's a sacrifice one makes to hopefully improve the educational opportunities for all students."
Wagner said Forrest has been a "committed" member, serving as board president three times.
Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan called Forrest very "bright," "analytical" and "supportive."
He's "a very balanced person who really thinks things through," Morgan said.
"I usually don't shoot from the hip," Forrest agreed on Friday, when he turned 44 years old.
Ideally, every decision was framed in terms of what it would mean for students, Forrest said.
That standard ? "it had to be good for the kids" ? was Forrest's philosophy, Bailey said.
"Ed was a very conscientious board member who was always prepared to talk about the issues that were at hand," Bailey said.
Forrest was elected to the board in 2000. He won a second four-year term in 2004.
Last year, he lost a Republican primary for a seat on the Washington County Commissioners.
Board members said they look forward to filling the vacancy quicker this time than last time.
Nipps resigned in December 2002. Young was appointed to the school board in May 2003.
The annual salary for board members is $5,600.