Marianne Thomas teaches fifth grade at Wetumpka Intermediate School (WIS) and wants her students to be active learners. "If you see the looks on their faces when they discover things for themselves and I just facilitate that learning, you can see that light bulb go on as opposed to just feeding them a fact," she says.
Students say they know she cares about them by the little things she does. "She does things extra. She does things that sometimes she doesn't want to do, but she knows we want to do," says Christopher Washington. Classmate Laine Kelly adds, "she's a real nice teacher and she'll listen to you when you're talking and she won't ignore you and she'll help when you need help on things."
WIS principal Lynn Ritvo says of Thomas, "she's one of those gifted educators that is always on and that the students adore, the faculty respects and the parents admire."
Thomas not only helps students move ahead, she also mentors new teachers. "As teachers come in I like to help them because, if they're doing well, that helps me and that helps the whole school do well," she says.
Her husband says her commitment to students extends beyond regular hours. "When she gets home at five she takes a few minutes off and by 6:30 she's back at work and works until 9:30, ten o'clock almost every night of the week," says Carl Thomas.