I, Malcolm Thomas, was a shy preacher’s kid, wearing
hand-me-down clothes and sitting in the back of the classroom.
One day at Tate High School, an inspired teacher recognized that
the kid in the back had potential. And that has made “all the
Mickey Rigby was the speech teacher who supported
me, encouraged me, and inspired me. For a state speaking
contest, he even bought and paid for, from his own meager
salary, my first brand new suit. In my Junior year at Tate, his
encouragement was instrumental in my being selected as a Youth
Delegate to the Paris Peace Talks to discuss the POW-MIA ‘s. It
was his inspiration, combined with his teaching skills that I
was elected Student Government President in my senior year. I
have never forgotten what that teacher gave to me.
After high school graduation, I served in the
United States Army with the 101st Airborne Division,
and then became a homebuilder. Building was a lucrative
business, but homebuilding was not my passion. I had a hunger
for something that would be long-lasting!
So, I left homebuilding and entered the much less
lucrative, but much more fulfilling world of teaching. I have
never regretted the choice. You see, teaching is my passion.
For eight years I taught in a special education
classroom at Tate High School before I was persuaded to move to
the district level. While at Tate I became the Escambia County
Teacher of the Year and was selected as a finalist for Florida
Teacher of the Year!
From that day, in 1987, when I left my classroom
at Tate High School, I made a vow that I would continue
to teach students and make a difference in their lives. And, I
have kept that vow. I still teach!
I want to make a greater difference in the lives
of students. I will do my best each day to lead the
Escambia County School District to improvement. I want
to empower students, teachers, and parents to do their best.
That‘s why I became Escambia County School Superintendent.