The 302 Thoughts segment of our One Thing Series takes a deep dive into our blog post for that particular month. February is dedicated to Black History Month and we thought it was only appropriate to honor and celebrate outstanding Black educators from the past and present. 

This month we invited our good friend, Dr. Salome Thomas-EL, to join us to discuss his journey as an educator and how the education industry can attract more teachers of color.

Dr. Salome Thomas-EL​ has been a teacher and principal in Philadelphia, PA and Wilmington, DE since 1987. He is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison Public Charter School in Wilmington, DE. Thomas-EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School, where his students have gone on to win world recognition as Eight-Time National Chess Champions. Principal EL was a regular contributor on “The Dr. Oz Show” and the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay ​and ​The Immortality of Influence (Foreword by Will Smith). ​The Walt Disney Company optioned the movie rights to ​I Choose to Stay. ​Thomas-EL speaks to groups across the country and frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN, and NPR Radio. 

He has received the Marcus A. Foster Award as the outstanding School District Administrator in Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Reader’s Digest Magazine recognized Principal EL as an “Inspiring American Icon” and he has appeared on Oprah Radio! And, with Joseph Jones and T.J. Vari, he co-authored Passionate Leadership: Creating a Culture of Success in Every School as well as Building a Winning Team: The Power of a Magnetic Reputation and the Need to Recruit Top Talent in Every School. His new book, again written with the two of us, is available for pre-order, Retention for a Change: Motivate, Inspire, and Energize Your School Culture.

What you’ll hear and learn in this segment:

Principal EL’s journey into the classroom is nothing short of a calling from above. While working for Prism sports and talking to various athletes, EL realized the tremendous impact that educators had on the lives of the athletes, and he wanted to do the same for others.

  • Listen to why Principal EL decided to teach at the K-8 grade levels and not at the high school level.
  • EL’s explanation of why he decided to introduce students to chess is profound and poses the critical question: in what other ways can we engage students to think critically and have fun simultaneously in schools?
  • The conversation takes a nice turn to how schools must have a culture that supports teachers and attracts future educators into the profession.
  • EL gets very practical on how to recruit teachers of color.
  • Lastly, listen to EL rap and promote the power of an education.

This 302 Thoughts was a wonderful follow-up to our latest blogpost, Principal Leadership at TheSchoolHouse302.com: 

Every School Leader Should Know These 6 Incredible Black Educators–Celebrating Black History Month “Then” and “Now”.

We hope to hear from you about your favorite parts of both the blog and the interview. 

Please follow, like, and comment. Use #onethingseries and #SH302 so that we can find you. For more great leadership content, follow theschoolhouse302.com

Joe & T.J.

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