LaKisha Thomas Motivates Students Through the Power of Words

TisBest is on a mission to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. In that spirit we like to feature heartwarming stories of special people, like LaKisha Thomas, who are also doing good in this world. We hope it inspires you to spread some kindness and love in your communities.

Principal LaKisha Thomas refers to her students as scholars at the Franklin D. Roosevelt High School of Innovation. She believes that positive language has the power to influence and motivate these young minds. Her leadership style not only reflects the school’s name, but also impacts her scholars’ lives long after graduation.

Business Major Pivots from Corporate to Classroom

LaKisha Thomas earned a degree in business and lasted about a month in the corporate world. Feeling unsatisfied, she reached out to God to find her true calling. That led her to ask herself what type of work she enjoys doing for free. LaKisha reflected on her teenage years in Longview, TX where she taught Sunday school at her church. She also enjoyed tutoring children in her spare time. That was the lightbulb moment when she decided to leave the business world to become an educator.

LaKisha Thomas Turns Students into Scholars

During her 22-year career LaKisha worked in various school districts in the Greater Dallas area. After serving as Principal for T.W. Browne Middle School she landed her current position at Roosevelt High School. According to, the school is far below the state average for college and career readiness.

However, LaKisha Thomas believes that the power of words has the ability to change the atmosphere and influence outcomes. As a single mom, she uses positive language with her own sons. Each morning she greets them by saying “Wake, pray, slay the day.” Then, she carries that same positive energy into her school. She refers to her students as scholars to let them know that they are all capable of learning and success. She ends every morning announcement by saying “You are champions. Let’s have a great day of teaching and learning.” She repeatedly calls them scholars because she believes if they keep hearing it long enough they’ll start to believe it. LaKisha sets up her students for success in both her words and her actions.

Principal’s Impact Lasts Long After Graduation

LaKisha Thomas appears as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

The majority of Franklin D. Roosevelt High School’s student population comes from low-income households. LaKisha Thomas pays out of pocket to provide students with haircuts, clothes, groceries, or whatever they need. She also pays for expenses related to after-school activities. Her dedication and commitment to her scholars does not go unnoticed.

Although this is LaKisha’s first year at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School, her unique leadership style has impacted hundreds of students. Many of her former students who had her as a teacher or principal in elementary or middle school invited her to their graduations and weddings. They even call her to help them with an upcoming interview or to celebrate a promotion.

Former Scholars Surprise LaKisha on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

LaKisha Thomas loves to celebrate all things positive. Her enthusiasm was caught on camera when she was dancing in the aisles at The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Then, to her surprise, guest host tWitch invited LaKisha up on the stage as a guest on the show. LaKisha talked about her passion for teaching and the power of words. Next, her former students surprised her with some inspirational words of their own. tWitch presented a video of some of LaKisha’s former scholars thanking her for being such a positive role model in their lives. In fact, one scholar said that she wouldn’t be the mom she is today if it weren’t for LaKisha.

After the emotional presentation, LaKisha was given one more reason to celebrate. The Ellen DeGeneres Show partnered with TisBest Philanthropy to give LaKisha a check for $10,000! She will use the funds to continue her legacy – using positive language and providing financial assistance for future scholars at the Franklin D. Roosevelt High School.

A TisBest Charity Gift Card featuring a black & white "Best Teacher" script on a cheerful green background.

Create More Warm Fuzzies!

Join us in the movement to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. If you feel inspired by this heartwarming story, spread a little more love in our world. Send a TisBest Charity Gift Card to those close to your heart so they can pay it forward to a charity that is close to theirs. Or give a card to a stranger as a random act of kindness. Together, you’ll do a world of good.

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