Reader's Digest Honors Inspirational Teacher

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Salome Thomas-EL, an award-winning teacher and principal in Philadelphia, PA, was among nineteen "American Icons" honored for their wisdom, humor and encouragement in the December 2008 edition of Reader's Digest Magazine. Principal Thomas-EL, author of the best sellers, I Choose to Stay (Kensington - March 2003) and The Immortality of Influence (Kensington - May 2006), foreword by Will Smith, was among a host of A-list celebrities asked to share their greatest inspirations in this exciting holiday issue.

Salome Thomas-EL has touched many people and will affect many more in the generations to come.

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Salome Thomas-EL, an award-winning teacher and principal in Philadelphia, PA, was among nineteen "American Icons" honored for their wisdom, humor and encouragement in the December 2008 edition of Reader's Digest Magazine (http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/19-celebrities-and-the-people-who-inspire-them-most/article105948-2.html). Principal Thomas-EL, author of the best sellers, I Choose to Stay (Kensington - March 2003) and The Immortality of Influence (Kensington - May 2006), foreword by Will Smith, was among a host of A-list celebrities asked to share their greatest inspirations in this exciting holiday issue. Salome Thomas-EL, Lance Armstrong, Jamie Lee Curtis, Warren Buffet, Maya Angelou, Marlo Thomas, Matthew and Alexandra Reeve (the children of Christopher Reeve), and so many more distinguished men and women were asked to honor their mentors.

Raised in a Philadelphia public housing project, Salome Thomas-EL met Marsha Pincus when he was a student at Simon Gratz High School. Pincus was a young, white English teacher in an all-black public high school in North Philadelphia. In the December 2008 edition of Reader's Digest, Thomas-EL selected Mrs. Pincus as one of his greatest inspirations, and credits her with "saving his life". He often shares how Mrs. Pincus encouraged him to succeed in school as a smart kid from a tough neighborhood and single parent household with seven other children. Pincus influenced Salome to go on to college, and after graduating, she continued to support and mentor him; ultimately leading to his becoming a teacher and now, principal. Marsha Pincus retired earlier this year after 30 plus years of teaching.

Salome Thomas-EL has been a teacher and principal in Philadelphia for more than two decades. A humble yet dedicated educator, he revived the chess team of an inner-city middle school and led them to a national championship (http://www.ichoosetostay.com.) From the beginning, he worked using a single principle; his students would never know they couldn't be successful. He would inspire them to believe they could win. Many of Salome's inner city students have gone on to graduate from some of the nations best colleges, universities and law schools.

Recognized as an authority in the area of children achieving, Principal EL has garnered the attention of Pennsylvania Governor, Ed Rendell, and California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger who stated, "Salome Thomas-EL has touched many people and will affect many more in the generations to come." Award-winning actor Will Smith has also expressed, "Thomas-EL was called to serve, and has inspired others to pick up the torch of service."

Salome Thomas-EL, currently CEO and Principal of Russell Byers Public Charter School, was Philadelphia Magazine's "Best Philadelphian" and received the University of Pennsylvania's distinguished Martin Luther King Award. Disney films optioned Salome's first book, I Choose to Stay, and he recently signed a development deal to star in a television show for parents and teachers who struggle with educating and raising teenagers.

Please read more about Salome Thomas-EL and his students at http://www.ichoosetostay.com.

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