Chad Thomas started his teaching career at an alternative school for teens in the juvenile justice system in Indiana and was awarded the Wal-Mart teacher of the year award in 2001. After moving to Chicago, he became a Nationally Board Certified English and Reading teacher at Farragut High School. In 2008, he became one of the founding teachers at Talent Development Charter High School in the West Garfield neighborhood — and in 2010 he made his transition to leadership serving as assistant principal of Harper High School. His work was featured in National Public Radio’s podcast “This American Life: Harper High School.”
Chad took over as principal at Sullivan High School in Rogers Park in July 2013 — at a time when Sullivan had been on academic probation for 13 straight years, and their existing school health clinic had just closed. Ginn Group Collaborative was also on site there, conducting analysis on why it had closed and how to reopen a school-based clinic that would be more impactful and financially stable. With Chad’s guidance, and Ginn Group Collaborative’s methodology and diligence, the Flagship SMART® Clinic opened at Sullivan High School in September 2013.
Chad credits this hallmark as the most crucial asset in his work, which dramatically transformed Sullivan from the lowest performing high school on the north side of Chicago into a flourishing neighborhood high school. With Chad’s leadership and the SMART® Clinic’s Whole Child, Whole School services in place, Sullivan has seen the graduation rate rise from 40% to 70%, the Freshmen on Track to graduate rate rise from 65% to 95%, with a 20% increase in college enrollment.
In addition to advising GGC and SMART®, Chad is now the Director of School Leader Engagement at Chicago Public Schools, the 3rd largest school district in America, which has over 500 principals. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Education from Quincy University and a Master of Arts in School Leadership from Concordia University.