During National Teacher Appreciation Week this week, AAPS District News will profile four teachers who are completing their first year at Ann Arbor Public Schools.
Erica Thomas is a teacher consultant at Pathways to Success Academic Campus, where she serves students who have Individualize Education Plans (IEPs). She also mentors several students in the building.
Thomas was born in Pontiac, the fourth of five children. After graduating from Pontiac Central High School in 1996, she majored in political science at Eastern Michigan University, following a path to law school.
Thomas then earned her master’s in administration at Central Michigan University, all the while substitute teaching in the Pontiac School District—a job she loved and continued when she later attended Cooley Law School. In fact, during her final year of law year, Thomas decided that her heart was actually in education. She then enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Wayne State University.
After graduating, she worked a year in a charter school, and then became a general education teacher in the Oak Park School District from 2006-14. During that time, Thomas realized she wanted to do more to reach her students with special needs. So she went back to school to receive her education specialist certificate in special education in 2010. While working in Oak Park, she also graduated from the Aspiring Principal’s Leadership Academy offered through Oakland Schools.
Thomas, who lives in Canton, enjoys traveling and running. In fact, she’s now training to run in the New York City Marathon in November. She is also a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.
Why did you want to work for AAPS? I wanted to work for the Ann Arbor Public Schools because I wanted to work in a district that celebrated diversity.
What has surprised you about this first year of teaching in the district? I was surprised at the level of teamwork in my building. I’ve worked in school where you don’t have the opportunity to see your colleagues during the course of the day. Being able to collaborate and share ideas, has been a breath of fresh air!
What makes AAPS unique? The variety of programming available to the students in the district makes AAPS unique.
When did you realize it was going to be a good year? I knew it was going to be a great year when I experienced how welcoming the staff was to both the parents and myself. We have so many awesome programs here! We have parent breakfasts, bowling nights, and even Thanksgiving dinner. These informal events help to build and maintain the home to school relationships.
What if anything will you do differently next year? This has been an awesome year and I wouldn’t change anything. I’m looking forward to the upcoming year in the district.
_Jo Mathis, AAPS District News Editor
Apr 29 (3 days ago)