Everyone’s life journey is influenced by the people that surround them. For T.L. Rodes Assistant Principal Beth Thomas, her grandfather was unquestionably her greatest influence.
“I was raised by my grandfather,” Thomas explained. “He selflessly took on the task of raising me, his six-year-old granddaughter, after my grandmother — and only mom I had ever known — passed away. He had a strong work ethic and a genuine desire to help others.”
It was her formative years that also led Thomas to pursue a career in education.
“Not having a mom around meant my teachers were my female role models,” she added. “Thankfully, I had some pretty phenomenal teachers who were positive influences along the way. It’s because of these teachers I decided to become an educator.”
It is no surprise Thomas inherited her grandfather’s work ethic. As Assistant Principal for the last 13 years, her staff lauds her for leading by example and being the backbone of T.L. Rodes.
“She is by far the hardest worker in our school,” Molly Bridges declared. “She helps our teachers with all of our curriculum needs. She is always on top of everything. I have no clue how she handles everything and keeps her head on straight!”
“She does so much for our school, our kids and our staff,” Chelsea Elgin added. “She’s always prompt in getting things done and is always willing to help. She handles so much behind the scenes that goes unnoticed often.”
And Melissa Kinney wrote, “Beth is an over the top administrator. She is always eager to help anyone in need, lend assistance where needed, and offer her time when asked. She is a wonderful leader who genuinely loves her staff and little Wranglers!”
“What’s not to love? I’m surrounded by 4-7 year olds daily,” Thomas responded. “Kids this age love their teachers and make you feel like a rock star when you pass them in the hall, not to mention if you see them in public. If you’re having a bad day, just come to Rodes. You can’t help but smile as our kiddos shower you with compliments and random facts … ‘I like your shoes.’ ‘I like your hair.’ ‘I like your shirt.’ ‘I can tie my shoes.’ ‘Will you come to my birthday party?’”
The impact Thomas has made in the 23 years since getting that first phone call to come teach at Bossier Schools runs deep. She was selected as Teacher of the Year by her peers at Benton Elementary her third year of teaching, which Thomas called “a tremendous honor.” Another proud moment was when Lisle Meador became Principal at T.L. Rodes and tapped Thomas as her Assistant Principal. And now, Thomas has been named a 2021-22 Gold Star recipient, exemplifying Bossier Schools’ best of the best.
“It was truly humbling to hear the submissions read from my coworkers,” Thomas said.
One of her biggest cheerleaders is T.L. Rodes Principal Stephanie Cockrell, who was behind Thomas receiving the Gold Star award. The two first met and became friends while taking Masters classes in administration at Centenary. Little did they know they would one day lead T.L. Rodes together.
“Beth is my ‘voice of reason.’ I don’t make a decision without her input,” Cockrell emphasized. “She is smart, loyal, a great friend and my ‘work wife!’”
Cockrell went on to say “She always gives me sound advice and always sees the big picture. Much of what Beth does is behind the scenes. She is organized and detail oriented, which is a big help to me every day! Oftentimes, she is the last one in the building after everyone else has left for the day. I am so fortunate to lead with Beth Thomas. She’s the real deal and deserves recognition for all that she does for our ‘lil Wranglers and our school family!”
Editor’s note: Know someone who works for Bossier Schools that is deserving of recognition for going above and beyond? Nominate them for the Gold Star award, proudly sponsored for the last nine years by Bossier Federal Credit Union. Just go to https://bit.ly/3oAP4Mi
and tell what sets them apart.