"Someday I will find a way to help kids believe in themselves, I vowed to myself, someday."
These are the words of Salome Thomas-El also known as Principal El. If you are a native or long-time resident of Philadelphia you may have heard of him-especially if you are a sports fan for he spent several formative years at the famed PRISM cable network. He has interviewed, developed relationships with and provided mutually rewarding exchanges with the likes of Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Michael Jordan and many, many other sports greats.
If you're not a sports fan-chances are you are still quite familiar with Principal El he is the dynamic young, gifted educator who having many opportunities to work in the best schools both private and public in the Philadelphia area-chose to stay in the inner city. Choosing to work in arguable one of the worse schools in the inner city, Vaux, Principal El has left an indelible imprint on the lives of many students, parents and fellow educators for many years to come.
By implementing a simple "formula" based upon his own experiences and observations, Principal El has been able to inspire young, gifted, talented African-American students to reach their academic goals and rise above the environment in which they live daily. This formula includes a recognition that education is key to the attainment of many of life's goals-noting that had it not been for a great relationship he had with a former teacher that led to his job with PRISM, upon completion of his undergraduate studies-he too may have become a glaring statistic that many minority youth are--of not reaching their goals and potential. He understands that,"kids in the inner city need to get a good education just to compete. They also need someone who could motivate them and get them involved in their own success."
Just as Principal El chose to stay in the Inner City he also acknowledges that it is also a choice to get a good education. Only one who has a healthy view of his heritage and legacy of his African-American slave ancestry could both commit himself to and "fight" vehemently to teach the least of these. Principal El having shown a personal commitment to educational attainment over the possibility of a very lucrative cable television career stands heads and shoulders above many who have given up on the Inner City and its most worthy young people.
Reading this book has reinforced my personal belief and commitment to giving back to the community or society that has produced me, maintaining a laser-like focus on the goal of pulling our youth up, and joining forces with others who are currently doing this great work. Principal El is one such individual whose commitment and unselfishness has led him to great success and back to television as he is a member of The Dr. Oz Show's "Core Team Oz" which airs on CBS weekdays-please check your local schedule for programming times and by all means purchase the book by clicking on the book image above.