Lori Thomas was born in Batavia, New York, however her family moved to Rochester when she was very young. Spending summers in rural Pavilion, New York gave her a very different perspective of life and the relationships between people and their world.
Growing up in Rochester, Thomas attended a private Catholic school from Kindergarten to Eighth grades and then transferred to the public school system for high school. The stark difference in the two systems of education was unbearable, so Thomas advocated for herself by meeting with the Superintendent of schools and arranging to complete her final English and Math credit needed for graduation by taking college courses at Monroe Community College. With the agreement, Thomas was able to receive her High School Diploma from James Madison High School in 1974.
During her time at James Madison, Thomas was scheduled to take Occupational Education courses that taught her Secretarial skills and Automotive-repair skills. It was then Miss Thomas came to understand the value of being introduced to various skill sets that are useful in life.
It was also at James Madison where Miss Thomas first became aware of racism and the devastating effect skin color had on the public school system. Bussing between suburban and inner-city students was required and the result was chaotic.
The public school system was unlike anything Thomas had experienced in the private school setting. Large class sizes, no accountability, no structure, no discipline, no respect, and not knowing it at the time, no success.
After serving eighteen years as an Environmental Services Operator for the City of Rochester, Thomas returned to college to pursue a less physically challenging career. From taking management courses, Thomas turned to a new career in teaching.
Completing her undergraduate degree at Monroe Community College in 1992, Thomas went on to complete her Bachelor’s degree in 1994 and her Master’s degree in 1998, both from Nazareth College of Rochester.
After spending one year as a substitute teacher for the Rochester City School District, Thomas was hired immediately by Sue Kauffman, Principal of Lincoln School #22 which began a career in teaching that lasted seventeen years.
Miss Thomas is now retired and spends much of her time writing an Education Accountability blog five days a week, sharing her educational views in a weekly Podcast for That Really Neat Radio Show, and advocating for educational change in Washington, D.C