Thornton was celebrating a homecoming of sorts, as he attended Windsor Spring and Meadowbrook elementary schools from 1972 to 1975.
“When I was driving in today, I looked up at the playground,” he said. “It’s great to be back here.”
For the first meeting of 2012, Monique Braswell, the president of the Richmond County Council of PTAs, was excited to have him speak.
“Sit down and hold on to your seats everyone, because you are in for a ride,” she said.
Thornton’s message to the parents from Richmond and Burke counties in attendance was a focus on what he called the “voices of Augusta.”
He said high-performing schools are based on great parents, great officials and great principals and staff.
“Education begins at home,” he said.
His goals for his presidency include campaigning for early intervention and preparing high school students for college and careers.
“Not everyone is going to go to college,” he said. “We understand that.”
Thornton, who has a military background, said only one in four 17- to 25-year-olds can qualify for the military now.
He said they fail either the academic test, physical or moral test because they have been convicted of a crime. He hopes to change that through many programs, including early intervention.
He encouraged parents to not only sign up, but also to get involved.
Braswell also announced that the Richmond County PTA broke a record by signing up its 10,300th member.