People of Etowah-Dr. Cynthia Toles


Name: Dr. Cynthia Toles

Where were you born and raised?

“I was born, raised and educated in Gadsden, Alabama.”

What is your occupation?

“My occupation is teacher, tutor, mentor and administrator (educator).”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“I had many role models at the elementary, high school level and church.  Individuals such as Beatrice Webb, Ruth Hightower, Marynette Watson, Harold J Watson Sr., S.M. Johnson, Thelma Alexander, Mildred Donald and many others.”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“My parents were Jess Sr. and Margaret Wright, to which three children were born – Jess Jr. (deceased) and Gregory W. Wright. I have two children Audrey and Rudolph (Chuck). I have 13 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. Two of the highlights of my family is our Christmas morning breakfast, where all the family gathered at my house along with friends to celebrate each other and remember family members that are not with us. Another highlight of my family is our annual Price Wright and Green Family Reunion. My family has been gathering together for 71 years.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“My average day begins with a trip to the Y.M.C.A for exercising. I return home and do my daily Bible Study that prepares me to teach Monday’s Women Bible Class and the Women’s Sunday School Class. I tutor a student in the evening and work on various project around my home. Since I am retired, I just do what excites me or what I want to do.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“I have attended L.V. Johnson Elementary School, Carver High School, Detroit Public School, Wayne State University, Gadsden State Community College, Jacksonville State University, Alabama A&M University, University of Alabama-Gadsden Center and University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“I really enjoy reading in my free time.”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“My greatest accomplishment was traveling and living in Lagos, Nigeria for 13 months – working in The Communion School as principal – learning the people and their culture.” 

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“The one person that was most influential in my life was my mother, Margret P. Wright. She was a lady ahead of her time. She was an entrepreneur, a community advocate, school supporter and a lover of people. The successes I have achieved are because she believed in me, supported me, disciplined me and told me I can do it but I must work.”

To what do you credit your success?

“I credit my success first now is knowing that a higher power than me – God can help me do exceedingly above all I try to accomplish. My success is because of good work ethics, compassion, communicating, self-pride and being a good listener. If I believe it, then I can see it and then I can achieve it.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, YMCA, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs supporters, Etowah Education Retirees Associations and a community volunteer.”

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“My favorite thing about this community is the people doing things together.”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“I would like to see 100 percent involvement of the citizen of Gadsden in all community activities, industry, schools and the county and city government. I would like to see us be more doers and as well as talkers.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Caring, worker and smiler.”

What is your favorite quote?

“Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.”

What is on your bucket list?

“A. Learn to play a guitar; B. Own a two-seater car; C. Travel to New York/Washington D.C. for pleasurer; D. Visit a presidential library; and E. Make a quilt.”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Taraji P. Henson.”

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“My advice is obey, listen and follow much of your parents teaching, training and advice. Educate yourself, travel and start a family in that order. Learn how to do more than one job, skill, vocation and most all do not leave God out of your life.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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