I’m a native Prince Georgian and alumnus of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD, right here in District 2. Why am I running? I’m a former middle school teacher, and I remember the challenges of teaching in an underfunded school system in which I had no way of expressing my concerns to those who were elected to represent me. I want to amplify the voices of teachers, families, and students because I understand their struggles in education from firsthand experience. I fully believe that educators can make the best decisions for public education.
Joshua Thomas was born and raised in Glenn Dale, Maryland and is a proud alumnus of Prince George’s County Public Schools, graduating from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in June 2010. Joshua received several awards during his high school career, as he was listed on the Principal’s Honor Roll every quarter, inducted into the National Honor Society in 2009, and graduated in the top 10% of his graduating class.
Joshua was most notable during his time in school as a member of Dem Raider Boyz Step Squad, an all-male step team which still holds its position as the highest ranked high school step team in the United States. He was also an active member of the National Honor Society and graduated from the Science & Technology Program, through which he completed a research internship at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Beltsville, MD. Under the guidance of Sam Droege, he completed his Research Practicum which was titled, “The Disparities Among Subspecies of Cistothorus palustris.”
Joshua was raised and baptized in the Mar Thoma Church of Greater Washington and raised in the church as an active member. In addition, Joshua served for numerous years on the Executive Board of the Mar Thoma Church of Greater Washington Youth Fellowship.
College:Joshua proudly attended Howard University on a full scholarship, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. While at Howard, Joshua was very active and involved in many organizations but most notably Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Alpha Chapter, the National Pan-Hellenic Council, Beta Kappa Chi Scientific Honor Society, the COAS Honors Association, the Health Professions Society, and the Drew Hall Step Team. He also gained employment with the Higher Achievement Program in Washington DC teaching and providing tutoring services during the summer after his freshman year.
During his undergraduate career, Joshua obtained an internship with the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) conducting research in the Howard University Department of Chemistry in the laboratory of Dr. Oladapo Bakare. He subsequently was accepted to the UC San Diego Howard University Partnership program which leverages the Summer Training Academy for Research Success (STARS) program. During his summer experience, Joshua conducted a research project in the UC San Diego School of Medicine under the guidance of Dr. Antonio De Maio.
Teaching and Career in Education:Joshua’s long term goal was initially to enter a career in medicine. Upon graduation, Joshua knew that he did not want to go directly into medical school but instead wanted to take a year or two to gain work experience by making an impact on the world around him, specifically with work relating to the disruption of social inequity. After making it through a selective application process and receiving admission to Teach For America, he moved to Houston, TX to teach 8th Grade Science in the Houston Independent School District. Joshua is a proud member of the Effective Teacher Fellowship, which provided him an alternative pathway to education certification.
He currently is a Manager of Recruitment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities for Teach For America, and he specifically directs the program’s recruitment efforts at Howard, Hampton & North Carolina A&T State Universities. In his first year in this role, he played a major role in making Howard University the #2 top contributor of incoming teachers to Teach For America among medium sized schools (consisting of 3,000-10,000 undergraduate students) in the country. He also was able to bring in the highest number of incoming teachers to Teach For America from North Carolina A&T State University in the history of the program. Joshua is passionate about finding driven students that will be part of the next wave of leaders that will bring change to our society.
School/Community Activism:During his time in the classroom, Joshua became frustrated with the many systemic issues that contributed to educational inequity and directly affected his students’ academic trajectories.
He only recently became involved in the Prince George’s County Board of Education politics in 2016 when he volunteered for District 5 Board Member Raaheela Ahmed’s campaign. Since then, Joshua has volunteered for College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn’s campaign. He is also an active member of Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE).
Most recently, Joshua has championed causes that impact students in District 2 (College Park, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights, Riverdale, and New Carrolton). He has been very vocal as it relates to ineffective decision making and problem solving in public schools.
Joshua has taken time to meet with teachers and student leaders at Parkdale High School to gain a better understanding of the concerns of community members as they relate to public education. He is prioritizing doing the same for all schools within District 2 so that he can truly be a voice for teachers and students.