PCHS Teacher Wins National Award and $10,000 Prize!

Paul Cuffee School is proud to announce that Ms. Megan Thoma is the recipient of the first-time Sanford Teaching Award from National University System. One teacher from each state and the District of Columbia was selected in recognition of their commitment to creating classrooms that support student achievement and development, and Ms. Thoma has done just that in both her classroom and our greater school community. When congratulated by her friends and colleagues, Ms. Thoma mentioned that she felt like this was an award for the entire school.

The Sanford Teacher Award criteria states characteristics that describe Ms. Thoma well: Enthusiasm for teaching; empathy and warmth towards all students; fostering positive relationships with all students; creating a positive learning environment; and recognizing student strengths.

A founding faculty member of Paul Cuffee High School, Ms. Thoma is now the English Department Head, a 12th grade student advisor, and a member of the Paul Cuffee School Board of Trustees. She initiates and champions projects that empower her students to become confident community leaders and activists for change. Examples include All School Meeting, which is a weekly assembly facilitated by students that recognizes and celebrates their accomplishments; and Senior Teach Day, a one-day annual opportunity for seniors to pair with a teacher or a K-12 school staff member and take on their duties for the day. The goal is to expose students to the teaching profession and increase the number of teachers of color in Rhode Island.

There are many more examples that distinguish Ms. Thoma’s teaching excellence and inspire her students and colleagues. But the photograph of Megan with her Teaching Award certificate says it all. Her passion for teaching and learning is awesome!

The press release from the National University can be found here – which announces this prestigious award and the $10,000 prize that accompanies it.