Dr. Karen Thomas has never fit in. Blame it on her third eye — when everyone else sees blue or red, she sees purple. And while this ability may have irked her parents when she was growing up, it is what makes her an effective leader today, the ability to see what’s not obvious others.
Though Dr. Thomas has a graduate degree in special events and marketing, and held an enviable position that she loved as director of marketing at Essence magazine back in the 1990s, she saw something others did not: it was time to move on. And in 1996, at the behest of the pastor of her church, she founded the Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark, New Jersey, in spite of the fact that she had no education experience. But Dr. Thomas saw purple. “As women…we’re just limitless,” she says. “I feel like, if it’s something you feel in your spirit that you feel compelled to do, you feel like no one can stop you.” Today, the school has grown from 60 students to 1500, and from four classrooms to four campuses.
On this episode, Dr. Thomas tells how to recognize when your next chapter makes itself known, how to keep moving when everyone else thinks you’re crazy, and what to do and where to turn in those moments when leadership gets lonely.
On this episode you’ll learn:
- The biggest challenge for running a charter school.
- Becoming a specialist in your category.
- 3 things to know when starting a school.
- Why you have to think about your school as a business.
- How charter schools generate revenue.
- How to build a strong and balanced team.
- Why what got you here may not get you there.
- The importance of continuing to take courses to become a better leader.
- How to find people who can support you during those moments when leadership gets lonely.
VISIT THE MARION P. THOMAS CHARTER SCHOOL at…
[Music: “Someone Else’s Memories” by Revolution Void]