Musician, ‘Edutainer’ Lands New Gig on N. Redington Beach Commission

Thornton is first African-American to sit on board

NORTH REDINGTON BEACH — A changing of the guard took place at the May 9 Town Hall meeting as the town said a fond farewell to retiring Vice Mayor Ted Dahl and welcomed Corey Thornton as the newly appointed commissioner for Seat 3.

The meeting began with the town’s presentation of a plaque to Ted Dahl in recognition of his 22 years of service to the town, including 15 years on the Code Enforcement and Planning & Zoning committees, and seven years on the Board of Commissioners, including the last six as vice mayor. Dahl is moving out of town which made it necessary for him to resign, leaving the remainder of his term to be filled through March 2020.

“No matter where I go, this (NRB) will always be my home town,” said Dahl as he accepted the award.

Then the moment came for a commissioner to be appointed to Dahl’s newly relinquished Seat 3. Mayor Bill Queen explained the selection process.

The town received three résumés by the deadline of May 3 from “three very qualified candidates in application for the position,” said the mayor. At a May 8 workshop individual interviews were conducted with the candidates by each of the town commissioners. Each board member then scored the candidates and Thornton came out ahead with the highest cumulative score.

Corey Thornton has performed more than 2,000 times at schools throughout the state of Florida and beyond. Including all of the summer camps and after-school programs he’s visited, that’s more than 5,000 gigs, Thornton added. These educational concerts get kids excited about school, he said. “We make school fun,” he said. “We create that atmosphere. They’re dancing and everything, but they’re learning something.”

Thornton was born and raised in St. Petersburg, and has been a resident of North Redington Beach for the past five years. Visible at just about every town event, Thornton has volunteered to help out the community at every opportunity.

Since 2005, Thornton has owned Corey Thornton Productions LLC, where he works as a motivational speaker, produces music, videos and commercials, and provides entertainment services. Thornton calls his combination of education and entertainment “edutaining.” From the YouTube videos of his shows, the entertainment is high energy, inspirational, motivational and educational.

“I am an advocate for education,” said Thornton.

“Edutaining” school-aged children “through music and real-life conversations” has brought positive attention to Thornton in the community. Thornton was recognized as a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero in 2007 and again in 2017. Some of the other awards he has received are: Pinellas County Council Parent Teacher Association Lifetime Achievement Award, St. Petersburg Police Department Community Activist Award, and Pinellas County School Volunteer Appreciation Award for Mentoring Hours.

Thornton has made it his goal to be a positive role model and to promote education. In fact, Heinemann Publishing Co. produced a children’s book featuring his life story.

And now Thornton is the first African-American to sit on the Board of Commissioners in North Redington Beach. Thornton’s mother and his wife (an elementary school principal) were both on hand to see him sworn in as Commissioner Seat 3 by Town Attorney Jay Daigneault.

“I’ll do my best to serve the town,” said Thornton. “I love the town and I want to be that good neighbor (to the residents of North Redington Beach).”

In other matters, Commissioner Gary Curtis brought up his concerns regarding park playgrounds and beach access areas in the town during miscellaneous business. When Curtis asked if anyone would like to accompany him and Don Lewis of Public Works for monthly inspections of these areas, Thornton didn’t hesitate to volunteer.