Position: English Teacher
School: Triad Math and Science Academy
School District: Charter School
City, State: Greensboro, NC
Angel Thurston was nominated by a student who wished to remain anonymous.
From the beginning of her class, Ms. Thurston demands the best from her students. She makes sure they have everything they need from basic school supplies to food at home. Anybody who knows her knows she makes sure "Duke Power" is set up.
There are about 20 students in her school who can't eat lunch for a variety of reasons. Ms. Thurston makes sure everyone who needs a meal has one every day. Even when she was out for surgery, her students were her priority. She feeds anyone who needs it! Her classroom is like a home. She reprimands like a mom, corrects and edits like an English teacher, respects her students as young adults, keeps secrets unless they are harmful or illegal, and always gives her students some parent/teacher insight.
"We know she loves us and loves what she does," said her nominator. "She has this weird balance, she shares her weaknesses and struggles, and she asks for our help when she can't spell. She owns her mistakes and she makes her students laugh. When nobody understands and has your back, she does. She never wants attention, but deserves it."
In one day and one class, ten people will come to Ms. Thurston for assistance from other classes or for teachers, break downs, even supplies. She never says no, and it's rare she doesn't have what a student needs. Uniforms, socks, underwear, sandwiches, etc. Her nominator has witnessed her taking her own shoes off and giving them to a student.
Talk to any parent, any student, any teacher, or any one person in her school, and they'll tell you she has touched them and that she loves them. She holds everybody to a high standard, even the students who nobody else expects anything from. Ms. Thurston celebrates everything. She spends her money to celebrate her students with the "sho challenge," the "try it bet," and other teaching activities she makes up. She always practices students' names so she gets them right. Her student population includes many people from abroad.
"I know that without her, many of us would not know our value as black men and women or as people," the nominator said. "I know she makes me feel like the best person in the world when she looks at me. For some of us she has taken better care than our families have of us and it's just normal for her. She presses on."