Thomas Porton

Bronx, NY | Years Taught: 1969 – Present

Thomas believes that his most important teaching takes place outside the classroom and in the community. An English/drama teacher at James Monroe High School in the Bronx, New York, since 1970, Porton takes his students out of their impoverished neighborhoods and into the New York City metropolitan area both to learn and to teach. Porton created the “Monroe Eagle Players,” a community theater company that performs for audiences ranging from senior citizens, to day care youngsters, to the homeless. Porton’s innovative AIDS education project, includes student-written pamphlets about HIV prevention and transmission, “friendship grams” of support to those afflicted with AIDS and HIV, baskets of love to AIDS patients at local hospitals, and the AIDS VAN, Porton’s personal mini-van transformed into a mobile HIV/AIDS information center. Teen educators then perform street corner outreach throughout New York City.

Additional Recognition

  • 1998 • USA American Teacher Team Disney American Teacher Award
  • 1999 • Readers Digest American Heroes in Education
  • 1997 • U.S.-Russia-Ukraine Award for Excellence in Teaching, sponsored by ACTR/ACCELS (trip to Russia in October, 1997)
  • 1996 • “One City” Award from the Citizens Committee of New York City
  • 1996 • “Creating Compassion: HIV/AIDS Peer Education” wins “Program of Excellence Award” (the highest award for language arts in New York State) from New York State English Council
  • 1996 • State Farm Insurance “Good Neighbor Award”
  • 1995 • Northern Life Insurance “Unsung Heroes” Award
  • 1994 • Teacher of Excellence Award from the New York State Council of English Teachers
  • 1993 • Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award
  • 1993 • Human Relations Award form the National Council of Christians and Jews
  • 1991 • Teacher of the Year by the Federation of Bronx Parents
  • 1988 • Teacher of the Year by the Federation of Bronx Parents