Hi, my name is Tom McLaughlin and I teach 7th grade Texas History and 8th grade US History at “THE” Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in Dallas Independent School District. I have 8 years’ experience as a Social Studies Teacher. My previous careers include National Account Manager for Novacopy Inc, Retail Manager for the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, Customer Service Manager for Fotoball USA and Pepperidge Farms Route Driver. My favorite quote is by Albert Einstein – “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. That has been true throughout my life.
I began my working career fresh out of Seagoville High School in Dallas ISD by joining the US Navy in July 1978. In my 16+ years serving in the Navy I had the opportunity to visit many different countries throughout the North Atlantic, Mediterranean, Caribbean and South American coast. While in the Navy, I served in a Leadership capacity at most of my duty stations, consistently being placed in a position of training my subordinates. A teaching career was always in the cards, I just didn’t know it. I retired from the US Navy in December 1993 as a Recruiter-in-Charge of Navy Recruiting Station Aurora, Colorado.
After retirement I decided to, as John Babsone Lane Soule stated, “GO WEST YOUNG MAN”. Now I know that most think Horace Greely said it first but check your History books. I went out to California to “see what was there”. The whole time I was out there I kept feeling a tug to “come home”. After finally coming home and working a variety of jobs, including Warehouse Manager for the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars, I finally settled down to teaching Middle School Social Studies in the Dallas ISD. I have taught 6th grade World Cultures, 7th grade Texas Studies and 8th grade US Studies in my 8 years of teaching.
One of the many highlights in my teaching career includes getting on our local FOX TV stations on the 9 O’Clock and 10 O’Clock news for wearing a Tutu all day for my students. NOTE TO SELF – Do not bet the students if 95% pass the state test that you will wear a Tutu, especially if your Step Daughter works for the Evening News Anchor. I had 100% pass and 40% get Commended. Another highlight was getting to teach at Seagoville Middle School and having some of my students be the children of some of my classmates from Seagoville HS. What a blessing that was.
I now teach at “The” Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy in the Dallas ISD AND I LOVE IT! Our main philosophy here is that we “TEACH AND THEN TEST, WE DO NOT TEACH TO THE TEST”. Our school mission statement is “Develop young men into impactful leaders through the development of their intellectual, moral, physical, social and emotional skills for the global society of tomorrow”. We have all made a commitment to this – teachers, parents and students – and it works. As our Principal, Nakia Douglas, is quick to tell people – “We are who we are and we make no excuses about it”. Parents, Teachers and Students coming together to ensure the student has the best education possible, not only while they are her but getting them prepared for what is to come.