LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Thomas Denson

Position: Pre-K Teacher
School: White Station Elementary School
School District: Memphis-Shelby County Schools
City, State: Memphis, TN

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Thomas Denson was nominated by an anonymous colleague.

Mr. Denson is a Pre-K educator that teaches at high levels and prepares his students for kindergarten while showing parents how to teach their children at home. He uses Class Dojo as an educational tool to teach parents the correct ways of educating their children by demonstrating his teaching methods visually through pictures and videos. Due to the consistent communication, his students are typically one to two grade levels ahead before transitioning to kindergarten. You will see his Pre-K students winning district literacy competitions regularly.

Mr. Denson is also a well-rounded leader believing in effective school-wide communication. He leads his school's social media pages and assists with the school website. He creates the flyers and all digital communication that goes out to families. Mr. Denson also responds and interacts with families when they have questions, regardless of grade.

"His communication skills are vital to our amazing school and culture. Everything he does is with students in mind," said the colleague.

Mr. Denson not only teaches Pre-K students but also finds ways to teach all students. Mr. Denson began a Graphic Design Club for aspiring 5th-grade artists who love visual and digital art. He believes that future scholars should have more college and career readiness knowledge as they move on to middle and high school. Students in his Graphic Design Club learn about marketing, advertising, and computer imaging. The students can create and design the flyers and communication that go out to families weekly, all while promoting their names. One of his 5th-grade Graphic Design students recently won 2nd place in the district-wide Black History Month Art Competition for a digital art creation. He also connects students with the community by having students interact and design advertisements with local Memphis businesses. He instills motivation and determination in all students, teachers, and staff.

Mr. Denson is an award-winning teacher for his leadership. He was named the SPARK Award winner in the Educator category, Teacher of the Year in 2019, and just named Teacher of the Year again for 2023. He was also named one of the top 100 educators by TNTP. He has been a Learning Coach and Master Teacher, aspiring new and struggling teachers to grow in all areas of their teaching. He has been a Literacy Laureate, assisting teachers in developing Prek-2nd grade students in Foundational Skills and Early Literacy.

Mr. Denson has written and continues to write grants for his school and community. In the past five years, he has been awarded over $150,000 in grant funding that went straight to the school and students. One grant, in particular, was for a brand-new fitness center to be built inside the school to teach students about diet, exercise, and a healthy lifestyle. He writes grants for teachers looking for new and innovative ways to incorporate anything from STEM, Literacy, Math, and more into the classroom to give all students a different or more hands-on approach to learning.

"If you knew the passion and love that Mr. Denson has for his school, community, and specifically students, you would understand why not just me, but anyone would want to consider Mr. Denson for this LifeChanger award. He has touched and impacted many lives throughout his teaching journey and continues to do so daily, simply due to the love of teaching," said the colleague.