Brooklyn Bridge Alliance Honors Brooklyn Center Teacher
The Brooklyn Bridge Alliance is saluting ninth grade geography teacher Thomas Parks in a really cool way. Parks, who has spent eight years at Brooklyn Center High School, was blown away to learn he was voted the 2019 Champion for Accelerating Youth in the Brooklyns over four other candidates.
“I see like these four people, one of which I know pretty well and is amazing,” Parks said. “Then I’m reading about these other two people and then I see my name. There’s like this, what am I doing in this?”
BC students connect with Parks, who is likable and approachable. They relate to his low-key style.
“That really helps, especially at Brooklyn Center because a lot of kids like personal space,” said Ethan Kirkwood, a Brooklyn Center student. “He will give you that. He’s not one of those teachers that are always on you. That’s what a lot of kids like about him.”
Thomas Parks teaching philosophy is simple
Parks has a simple teaching philosophy. “For me it’s student first,” Parks said. “Elevate student voice. Elevate the work and show up equally as a student as much as I would as an educator.”
“The way he connects with you, it helps you more,” Kirkwood said. “It just brightens up your day. Makes you want to actually work.”
Each day at Brooklyn Center is unique and Parks embraces being part of a multi-cultural campus.
“I grew up in Iowa with very little ethnic diversity,” Parks said. “You have the benefit of growing up as international people.”
Parks has a passion for his profession – getting this honor from the Brooklyn Bridge Alliance is a big bonus.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” Parks said. “It’s really nice to say hey you’re doing something right, keep doing that.”
“He’s a great teacher,” Kirkwood said. “If you ever come to Brooklyn Center and you are a freshman and he is still here, treat him good because he will treat you good.”
The Champion for Accelerating youth winner is chosen through a community vote of 367 people in all age ranges.