Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday appointed Dr. Tommie ‘Tonea’ Stewart to represent District 5 on the Alabama State Board of Education. Governor Ivey spoke with Dr. Stewart today to ask her to serve.
“Alabama’s students and teachers deserve our best, and Dr. Stewart is prepared to offer that,” Governor Ivey said. “Dr. Stewart is bringing forth a great passion and a lifetime of unique experience that I know will greatly benefit Alabama’s students and educators. I look forward to serving alongside her as we work to build a stronger future for our state. Education must be at the core of all of our efforts, and that begins with the leadership at the top.”
Dr. Stewart comes to the Board with a special understanding of what students need in order to be successful post-high school. For the last decade, Dr. Stewart served as the dean and a professor in the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Alabama State University (ASU). Prior to her tenure as dean, she served as chair and a professor in ASU’s Department of Theatre Arts, in addition to being director and holding other positions in the department. Throughout that time, Dr. Stewart contributed to several scholarly works.
“Education is the pathway for our children’s future. It is our charge to motivate, validate, and create a positive environment for teaching the youth and supporting the employees that our children encounter,” Dr. Stewart said. “This was the focus of Board Member Ella Bell, and her work will not be in vain. It is important that the state of Alabama’s educational system deserves student preparedness.”
In conjunction with Dr. Stewart’s decades of experience in higher education, she has a diverse and outstanding background through her work around the country, internationally and on the screen. As a professional actress, she appeared in many films, television series and stage productions, including roles in A Time to Kill, The Rosa Parks Story and American Horror Stories. She was a celebrity guest to Turkey, the Scottish Parliament and in Seoul, South Korea.
Dr. Stewart earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Jackson State University. She also holds a Master of Arts from the University of California in Santa Barbara and a doctorate from Florida State University (FSU). She was the first African American female to receive a doctorate from the FSU School of Theatre. Dr. Stewart and her husband Dr. Allen Stewart have children who were educated in the Montgomery Public School System.
This appointment is effective immediately. Dr. Stewart will join the governor and the other SBOE members for their monthly meeting and work session this Thursday, January 9.