‘The Principal’ speaks at ACS Institute Day

The ACS Board of Education and Salome Thomas-El welcomed the new academic year with the second annual Institute Day on Aug. 5. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

The ACS Board of Education and Salome Thomas-El welcomed the new academic year with the second annual Institute Day on Aug. 5. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

ALABASTER—Salome Thomas-El, popularly known as “the Principal,” helped Alabaster City Schools set the tone for the new academic year during the school system’s second annual Institute Day.

Thomas-El is an education consultant, and before that he had a long career as a teacher, then principal of an inner city Philadelphia school. He is widely known for his message of fostering students’ success through challenging, supportive and caring teachers, and has been featured on Oprah Radio and the Dr. Oz show.

“When I walked into this school… you could just feel there was a power in the room. You could just feel there were people who cared about these kids,” Thomas-El said to the ACS faculty and staff who packed the auditorium of Thompson High School.

“Excellent teachers move ordinary students to do extraordinary things,” Thomas-El said, stressing the important influence teachers have on the lives and futures of each student.

He encouraged teachers to use innovative methods to instruct and prepare their students for success in the classroom and beyond, noting the wellbeing of the children should be at the center of all decisions.

He also empowered teachers to challenge their students, building resilient children by teaching them “how to respond when they’re not successful” as well as when they are successful.

“As a new school system, you have the opportunity be innovative and creative,” Thomas-El said in a post-presentation interview. “Alabaster is showing they’re on the cutting edge of education and placing children at the forefront of every decision.”

Thomas-El’s message aligns with Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers’ goal to “change the world” through empowering Alabaster students.

“We need to change the world, one student at a time, one classroom at a time, one bus ride at a time and one lunch at a time,” Vickers said to the faculty and staff gathered in the auditorium. “If we work together as a school system… we can truly change the world.”

“Every child deserves to have someone be crazy about them,” Thomas-El said. “That’s what’s happening at Alabaster City Schools.”