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Selma native eying seat on state school board

On Tuesday night at Courtyard by the River on Green Street, Selma native Tonya Chestnut will hold an official campaign kickoff event for her bid to represent District 5 – which encompasses Autauga, Bullock, Choctaw, Clarke, Dallas, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pike, Sumter, Washington and Wilcox counties – on the Alabama State Board of Education.

“I am committed to being the voice that speaks and listens, the one that serves and desires the best for all children,” Chestnut said. “I am not just seeking a position, but continuing a mission. My commitment is to use the experience I have gained as I walked the halls of schools in District 5 for 36 years. I am the choice for our children.”

Chestnut’s 36 years of education experience range across a number of counties and a variety of positions – across Autauga, Choctaw, Dallas, Lowndes, Marengo, Montgomery, Perry and Wilcox counties, Chestnut has worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal, as well as working as Federal Programs Director, Curriculum Supervisor and more in various central offices.

Beyond that, Chesnut has worked in higher education as a Clinical Experience Director, associate professor, adjunct professor, Dean of Teacher education and more.

Additionally, Chestnut has earned a number of degrees from Concordia University in Portland, Alabama State University, Jacksonville State University and others, is an ordained pastor and is a member of the National Education Association and other organizations.

Despite her wealth of experience and training, Chesnut believes the being a product of and working across District 5 is her strongest qualification for the position.

“I am a product of District 5 and have had the honor of serving [at] various educational levels during my 36 years of service as a proud Alabama educator,” Chestnut said. “I have walked and continue to walk the halls of our schools throughout Distrct 5. I see in real time the challenges we face and understand what it will take to help students compete worldwide.”

Chestnut’s event Tuesday will begin at 5 p.m.