Dawn Collins was re-elected on Tuesday to a full term representing District 4 on the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, defeating her lone challenger, teacher Chrisdelin Kelly Lyles.
Collins, 42, had won a special election in spring 2016 to replace Tarvald Smith on the School Board representing this north Baton Rouge district. Collins was backed by local teachers unions and other supporters of traditional public education. She served for a time on the board of an online charter school but is critical of many of these schools, especially ones based out of state.
She runs her own political consulting firm and she has long been active in local Democratic Party politics, including serving for a time as of the party’s executive committee in East Baton Rouge Parish. Collins spent a year teaching English in Gadsden County, Florida, near Tallahassee. She is the mother of two boys who graduated from the parish public school system.
Lyles, also 42, has spent more than 15 years as a classroom teacher, mostly in elementary schools, and is currently on the faculty of McKinley High School. She has five children. Lyles, who like Collins is a Democrat, has been backed by local and outside groups seeking change in the parish school system, including more openness to charter schools. She said she wants teachers like her to have a seat at the table when education policy is made.