COVINGTON -- A military officer and businessman is seeking a seat on the Newton County Board of Education where he said he will act in the best interest of students.
During qualifying week last month, Covington resident Toney D. Collins qualified on the Democratic ticket for the District 3 seat, which is currently held by Cathy Dobbs, who is not seeking re-election.
"My wife teaches, so I've been hearing about issues for the last 13 years," said Collins, 37. "I've been in leadership, and I've always wanted to make things better for the kids."
His wife Kristina teaches math at Newton High School and also is a program development coordinator for the Academy of Liberal Arts at NHS. They have two children in NCSS -- Toney Collins II, a rising seventh-grader at Liberty Middle School, and Ty, a rising kindergartner at Fairview Theme School.
"I'm directly affected by every decision of the board members," Collins said. "I think it's important to have board members who are directly affected. The decisions are going to be well thought out and in the best interest of the kids."
If elected, he wants to focus on items like parent/teacher relationships, combatting childhood obesity with an emphasis on school sports and protecting teacher jobs. He said this will help students succeed in both academics and in their personal lives and also protect the most important positions in NCSS, the teachers.
Collins has never held an elected office. He has served as a coach for various sports and as a mentor for the Newton County Recreation Department and the Covington YMCA. He also has worked with youth at his church.
Originally from Alabama, he has worked in management and sales at Verizon Wireless and UPS. Currently working as a logistics officer at Dobbins Air Force Reserve Base, he also served as an officer in charge for the 2009 presidential inauguration task force and was in charge of logistics related to the inaugural ceremony in Washington, D.C.
He holds an associate degree in radiologic technology from the Air Force Community College, a bachelor's degree in business administration from St. Leo University and a master's degree in educational leadership from Touro International University.
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.