Dr. Lonnie J. Edwards Sr. is an experienced educator, an effective workshop presenter, and a nationally known motivational speaker. As an Assistant Superintendent with the DeKalb County School System, one of the largest public educational systems in the State of Georgia, he serves as the Executive Director for Elementary Administration. In this capacity, his organization supports 83 schools. Dr. Edwards is also the President of Lonnie Edwards & Associates, Inc a professional development firm comprised of individuals who specialize in motivational speaking, organizational training, and consulting.
Born and reared on his family’s farm in rural Mississippi, Dr. Edwards attended Coahoma Junior College, a two-year, predominately Black college in Mississippi and completed his undergraduate degree at Montevallo University, a predominately White college in Alabama. At Montevallo, he was the first Black male athlete recruited and admitted to the school. Dr. Edwards graduated with honors and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame at both institutions.
After his chance for a professional basketball career ended prematurely, Dr. Edwards changed his career goals and decided to become an educator. To develop his teaching skills and to enhance his chances for career advancement, he earned two Masters Degrees (from the University of Montevallo) and a Doctorate Degree (from Clark/Atlanta University). Dr. Edwards has now been with the DeKalb School System for thirty years, quickly moving up "the career ladder" to his present position.
In 1996, Dr. Edwards was featured on the Sally Jessy Raphael Show for making a significant difference in a former student’s life that was born with a physical disability. Nancy Johnson Miller was born with little vestiges of fingers, mostly little "nubs" and kept them hidden from teachers and students by carrying a towel over her hands at all times. At the time of their initial meeting, Dr. Edwards was a first-year physical education teacher at the school where Ms. Miller was a 5th grade student. According to Ms. Miller, Dr. Edwards was instrumental in enabling her to move past her disability by accepting it and by being confident in using and/or developing the talents that God did give her. For this reason, she wrote the Sally Jessy Raphael Show, stating that she wanted to thank him on national television for changing her life.
As a result of his impact on this student’s life, Dr. Edwards has written a book entitled A Teacher’s Touch--Reaching Beyond Boundaries. He was also featured in the "Heroes for Today" section of the September 1997 issue of the Reader’s Digest. And, out of the Sally Jessy Raphael Show reunion, more than twenty-five years after their initial interaction, the Edwards-Miller Foundation for Physical Disabilities, Inc. was created to provide scholarships for physically and/or mentally challenged individuals to pursue a college education.
Dr. Edwards lives in the Atlanta area with his wife, Cynthia. He has two children, Lonnie Jr., and Lynda.