COVINGTON --Former Newton County Board of Education member Ricky Corley hopes to reclaim his old seat next month.
Corley, 58, who is currently co-owner of Corley's Used Cars and Auto Service along with his son, is running as a Republican for the District 2 seat on the Newton County Board of Education.
Incumbent Democrat Eddie Johnson took over the seat in 2009, when he beat out Corley in the election as a political newcomer; Corley had served on the school board for 12 years at the time.
"I've always wanted to do my part," said Corley, who also lost a bid for the District 2 Board of Commissioners seat to Democrat Lanier Sims in 2010. "This past year, I've had a flood of calls encouraging me to run (for school board)."
The lifelong Newton County resident said he wants this to be a productive county with quality education.
"It's my home," said Corley, who had four children graduate from Newton County public schools over the years and has four of eight grandchildren currently attending them. "I want Newton County to be the best it can be, and education is the foundation to justify everything."
During his previous time on the school board, he said the board dealt with high enrollment and lots of growth, which equalled constantly building schools.
"Even with that, we kept the school system in shape, but of course, there's always room for improvement and there always will be," he said.
Corley said that the needs of the system currently seem to be focusing on customer service, improving test scores and discipline and getting more parental involvement and responsibility, while holding everyone accountable.
"We've got to provide for all young people a safe learning environment," Corley said, adding that there also needs to be an instrument to take a school climate survey so people can make suggestions for improvement.
He said he will bring to the table leadership, accountability and experience, while supporting teachers and administrators.
"Board members don't teach and they don't micromanage the schools or you get into trouble like Clayton County," he said.
Corley said he has owned a business since 1974 and holds an associate's degree in business management from Ashford University and studied at DeKalb Technical College; he also went through leadership training with the Georgia School Boards Association. While on the school board, he served two years at chair and three years at vice chair.
He also said he is easily accessible, since he's constantly attending school programs and other public events.
"My commitment is to education," he said. "I will be the voice for the people."
Johnson has yet to return a call from the Citizen seeking information on his campaign.
In addition to the District 2 seat, the school board's District 4 seat is up for reelection this year. Only Democrats Almond Turner (incumbent) and Franklin Perry qualified for the seat, and votes for Turner during the primary election earlier this year allowed him to keep the seat, which he has held for 16 years.