Closing Plenary: Salome Thomas-EL, "Principal EL"

The Immortality of Influence 

Believing Every Child Can Achieve Their Dreams

Salome Thomas-EL, National Education Expert, and Award-Winning Teacher and Principal In Philadelphia

“Every child needs someone to be crazy about them.” These are the words of Salome Thomas-EL, award-winning teacher and principal, and nationally recognized educator. They shape his life-long commitment to answering the question, “How do we ensure that every child achieves their greatest potential?” This question lies at the heart of the national dialogue on education policy, the day in and day out work of school personnel, and the hopes of every parent. Central to this challenge is how we succeed with children who are facing the most serious barriers to success: poverty, violence, neglect, and low expectations.

 

 

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For over 20 years, Thomas-EL has taken on this challenge with the absolute belief that every child can and will learn as long as adults in their world care enough to not give up. Starting as a teacher and chess coach at Vaux Middle School and through his years as principal at several traditional public and charter schools, Thomas-EL has transformed the attitudes and strategies of school staff, parents, and members of the community to help hundreds of troubled children not only graduate from high school but go on to earn higher degrees from major colleges and universities. He brings to the process a powerful combination of passion, caring, and leadership to craft a refreshing, common-sense roadmap to help kids achieve their dreams, no matter the odds.

 

“Principal EL is a superstar educator who is revolutionizing how we teach kids and is helping me motivate America to live right now.” — Dr. Oz

 


Salome Thomas-EL is a national education expert and consultant. He was a teacher and principal with the Philadelphia School District from 1987-2009. He 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 is a regular contributor on “The Dr. Oz Show” and the author of the best-selling books, I Choose to Stay, about his Vaux Middle School experience, and The Immortality of Influence, which stresses the importance of mentoring, parenting and service to others. 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 is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania and is currently a doctoral candidate. Principal EL lives in Delaware County, PA with his wife and two young daughters. 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. Principal EL was honored as a Reader's Digest Magazine, "Inspiring American Icon" and recently appeared on The Oprah Radio Network.

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