Tommy Delaney

Overland Park, KS | Years Taught: 1969 – 1996

Tom started teaching in public schools in 1969 because he needed the job. Twenty-eight years later, he travels 160 miles a day to educate incarcerated juveniles because the job needs him. He promises students that no matter from what distance their noble dreams beckon, they can get there from his classroom; he uses successful businessmen who also grew up in rough neighborhoods to share how they “got there from here.” Delaney encourages students to submit entries to REACHING OUT, a literary magazine published by his English/Journalism class and circulated to schools from Mexico to Canada; he also encourages them to participate in public speaking and in plays that depict psychological and environmental barriers they are hurdling to reach lofty goals. Once a year they take their productions on the road to schools in tough neighborhoods in an attempt to reach others who may be thinking about getting involved with crime and violence.

Additional Recognition

  • 1997 • Bell South Telephone-Atlanta Braves Excellence in Education Award
  • 1996 • Induction into the National Teachers Hall of Fame
  • 1996 • Recognized via Resolution By Georgia Legislature for Lifetime Achievements
  • 1995 • Milken Family Foundation National Educator’s Award
  • 1995 • Atlanta Journal and Constitution’s Honor Teacher Award
  • 1994 • Disney American Teacher Award
  • 1989 • Learning Magazine’s Professional Best Award
  • 1992 • National Board for Professional Teaching Standards Outstanding Teacher