Former teacher to run for BOE

COVINGTON -- Former Alcovy High School science teacher Pamela Consuegra wants the Newton County Board of Education to focus on both the needs of students and teachers.

Consuegra, 29, who now is a part-time instructor at Georgia Perimeter College, qualified with the Newton County Democratic Party on Monday to run for the District 3 seat on the Newton County Board of Education, which is currently held by Cathy Dobbs.

"I'm a mommy and a teacher," Consuegra said Tuesday. "I want to be proud to say my children are part of the Newton County School System."

A lifelong Newton County resident, Consuegra graduated from Newton High School in 1999 and then attended Young Harris before transferring to the University of West Georgia, where she received a bachelor's degree in biology and secondary education.

In 2006, she attended the University of Georgia, where she received a master's degree in exercise science.

When she and her husband moved back to Newton County for his job, she taught science at Alcovy High School from 2006 to 2008 and then at a local private school. In 2009, she became a part-time adjunct instructor in the physical education department at GPC's Newton Campus so she could spend more time with her two small children.

"I love teaching, and I miss teaching full time, but I certainly would not give up the time I am spending with my children," she said.

Consuegra said she has always thought about serving on a school board eventually, and when Dobbs announced that she would not seek re-election, she talked to community members and did a little more research to determine if it was the right thing for her to do.

"It just worked out that this is the time," Consuegra said. "I have extra time to devote to it, since I don't work fulltime now. I feel this would be may way of contributing to the schools, if I can't be in the classroom. This is the next best thing."

If elected, she wants the board to focus on three major aspects of education, as many of them already do -- fiscal responsibility, keeping the children's best interest in mind and making sure the teachers are happy.

"Obviously, the students' best interest is the biggest concern and also being fiscally responsible," she said. "I want the board to remember that with teachers, if you create a good atmosphere to keep good teachers in our classrooms and attract ones from elsewhere, then it won't matter how much money you have. We have to keep them happy, so they will want to stay."

Consuegra has never held any elected position, but she was once a member of the Professional Association of Georgia Educators and the Georgia Science Teachers Association. She is active at Shiloh United Methodist Church in Covington.

So far, Consuegra will face James Johnson and Shakila Baker, who both qualified Monday on the Democratic ticket in the race for the District 3 seat on the Newton County Board of Education.

In addition to the District 3 seat, Johnny Smith's District 1 and C.C. Bates' District 5 seats are up for re-election this year on the Newton County Board of Education.

Qualifying for the Newton County Board of Education continues until noon Friday. The qualifying fee for school board seats is $216.