was a real delight to have Salome Thomas-EL as
our Opening Speaker – particularly in that
role, early on in the conference, [as] he [got]
people energized and excited about the meeting.
He made his story relevant to everyone in the
room and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
I will be sure to recommend him as a speaker to
my fellow regional vice presidents."
~ The College Board (Midwest Regional Forum)
ideas and experiences Principal EL shared will
serve to enhance the quality of local public education
in districts throughout Connecticut. You should
be pleased to know that the audience in your keynote
address enjoyed your presentation very much. Our
members loved you! Thanks so much."
Association of Board of Education
was OUTSTANDING!!! Loved him. One of the best
speakers we have ever had."
School Boards Association
was a big hit at the Regional Forum and well received
by the conference attendees. He was a pleasure
to work with and all of our staff enjoyed their
interactions with him."
College Board (Midwest Regional Forum)
am emailing you to thank you for your fantastic
keynote address at the NASP conference this past
week in Chicago. I am one of the 6,000 who did
not get to meet you but I wanted to tell you how
moving I thought your speech was.
reminded me that there are so many kids, communities,
schools and families who need, want, and appreciate
people that choose to go into education. I want
to go work in the New York City school system
when I complete my degree here. I hope to change
even just one school for even just one child in
the same way that you have. Thank you for your
time this past Wednesday."
Believing Every Child Can Achieve
takes a remarkable human being to dedicate his life
to those nobody else believes in. Salome Thomas-EL
is such a man, driven by a larger purpose, who became
a true hero to hundreds of troubled students in Philadelphia.
in the projects, Thomas-EL received a worldly college
education and returned to the inner city to become
a principal. Armed with only a fierce commitment to
students nobody else believed in, he transformed their
lives and gave them hope. In a stroke of creative
genius, he revived the long-dormant chess team to
unite his students, leading them to victory at the
national championships. His dedication gave them the
personal strength to go on and attend magnet high
schools, major colleges, and universities.
Thomas-EL was an award-winning teacher and principal
in the Philadelphia School District for over twenty-years
and is currently the Head of School at Thomas Edison
Charter in Wilmington, Delaware. He is also an educational
and media consultant. He visits schools around the
country to consult with principals and teachers and
to motivate students to be successful.
EL received national acclaim as a teacher and chess
coach at Vaux Middle School, where his inner-city
students went on to win a national chess championship.
He is a regular contributor on “The Dr. Oz Show” and
the author of the best-selling book, "I Choose
frequently appears on C-SPAN, CNN and NPR Radio and
received the Marcus Foster Award as the outstanding
School District Administrator in Philadelphia. Principal
EL received the University of Pennsylvania’s distinguished
Martin Luther King Award, was honored as Philadelphia
Magazine’s “Best Philadelphian” and was a Reader’s
Digest Magazine, “Inspiring American Icon”. Principal
EL recently appeared on the Oprah Radio Network.
Immortality of Influence
We Can Build the Best Minds of the Next Generation
Influenced in no small part by the powerful mentors
in his own youth, the award-winning educator and acclaimed
author of I Choose to Stay offers a commonsense, inspiring
road map to mentoring kids to thrive in today’s challenging
world—and creating a legacy of success for generations
Choose to Stay
Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner City
An intensely moving story of loyalty and courage and
a deeply personal tribute to the great potential of
Immortality of Influence
uses practical, real-world examples to present the universal
methods he has so successfully used to help his students
achieve their dreams. He famously began a chess club-the
Mighty Bishops - to teach his students at an early age
to think critically and to resolve conflict with their
minds instead of their fists. Not only did his students
win national championships and become local heroes among
their peers, they also scored high on the SAT, which
got them into colleges and universities. Thomas-EL found
himself faced with kids who weighed more than he did,
so he started a simple summer program where the students
walked to museums and other cultural events around the
city; those who exercised felt better about themselves
and in turn became better students. Citing the importance
of exposing his students to the world outside of their
own sometimes troubled community, he tells of taking
15 of his African American kids to rural Vermont, where
they interacted with white children their age and discovered
how much they had in common. All of these students were
later accepted to magnet high schools.
on his book, The Immortality of Influence, this keynote
speech is a refreshing, commonsense roadmap to helping
kids achieve their dreams, not only for parents and
educators but for everyone who knows that just one person
really can make a difference.
Choose to Stay
is the author of I Choose to Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses
to Desert the Inner City - an intensely moving story
of loyalty and courage and a deeply personal tribute
to the great potential of inner-city kids. In 1997,
as a teacher at Roberts Vaux Middle School in Philadelphia's
inner city, he was offered a promotion, not only because
he had helped to improve scholastics, morale, and discipline
at his school, but because he had taught children to
play chess—and win local and national competitions .
He turned down the promotion. He was committed to stay
and be the role model those children needed. Armed with
a chess board and a profound belief in their potential,
Thomas-EL's faith and commitment has motivated hundreds
of children in Philadelphia to attend magnet high schools
and major colleges and universities. His story proves
that teaching in the public schools can result in excellence
and success for children most of society has abandoned.
Reflecting on how it feels to see a young person he
has mentored walk down the aisle toward a real future
instead of to an early grave, Thomas-EL has said: "I've
been to too many funerals; I need to go to more graduations."
2010 MIDAMERICA SPEAKERS BUREAU