PSD principal Aisha Thomas honored by U.S. Secretary of Education for outstanding school leadership

Aisha Thomas, Zach Elementary principalThe U.S. Department of Education announced Tuesday that it is awarding Zach Elementary School Principal Aisha Thomas the Terrel H. Bell Award for Outstanding School Leadership.

Thomas was one of only 11 principals nationwide who were presented with the prestigious award, which honors school leaders for their commitment to education and improving outcomes for all students. Thomas and other award recipients were part of a 2018 cohort of leaders of National Blue Ribbon Schools. Two PSD elementary schools, Zach and Tavelli, were among those Blue Ribbon recipients.

"I am very honored to be recognized in the Bell legacy,” Thomas said. “The success of our school is based on a focus on learning and a culture of collaboration. This award is really about my whole staff. Each person, each educator, dedicates their knowledge and heart to our students. I am lucky to get to lead them."

Thomas has led Zach Elementary School since 2013. In her time as principal, she has focused on building a collaborative culture with an emphasis on ensuring effective instruction for all students. As part of this effort, she implemented a family engagement plan that included both formal and informal opportunities for the school to connect with families and the community in meaningful ways.

She also implemented a robust coaching system, in which she and her assistant principal each spent two days a week visiting classrooms, hallways, recess activities, and the lunchroom for observation and reflection. This created built-in coaching opportunities and helped maintain and build strong connections between teachers, administrators and students.

“Aisha demonstrates her exceptional skills for her students and staff every single day,” PSD Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Schools Dr. Todd Lambert said. “It is no surprise that she has been recognized for her outstanding leadership abilities.”

For a full list of winners, visit the National Blue Ribbon Schools website.