AISD Own Recognized As Top 100 Leaders in Education –

By Jack Orloff
Austin ISD’s Dr. Mary Thomas believes she was born with the passion to serve.

Over her career in education, Dr. Mary Thomas has dedicated her life’s work to teaching, and she continues to work toward making sure that each child in Austin ISD is receiving the best education.
“I knew my why very early in life and used each day as an opportunity to serve,” Thomas said. “I listened and learned from every experience. I had excellent teachers, mentors, and those who invested in my growth and development and got me where I am today.”

That lifelong work was recognized this past summer as Thomas received the “Top 100 Leaders in Education” at the Global Forum for Education and Learning in Las Vegas on June 23. 
Thomas is the executive director of state, federal, and private accountability. She was awarded for her contributions and work toward growth in the education sector, though she could not have received such recognition alone, Thomas said.
“Although the award has my name, it takes a village to serve the students, employees, parents, and the Austin community,” she said. “I am encouraged that the work done in Austin Texas, is shared with the globe. I am appreciative of the many students, teachers, mentors, guides, supporters in my life who are part of this journey.” 

The Global Forum for Education and Learning is a three-day conference that brings together the best in education to connect, get new ideas, and discuss the improvement of education throughout the country.
“As a life-long leader, I constantly seek to learn and grow,” Thomas said. “At the conference, I was saturated with information to use and share.”   
Thomas’s 45 years in public education have taken her throughout the field. She began as a pre-K teacher, moving to campus administrator, then office administrator before becoming executive director of state, federal, and private accountability. She received her Master’s Degree from East Texas State University and her Doctorate of Education at Texas A&M University.
Thomas’s commitment to education can be seen in her work and her character. She attributes a lot of that passion to her upbringing.
“The pathway of principles my parents taught me paved the way for high expectations and mountain mover goals,” Thomas said. “I was taught not to allow my circumstances define who I am, and this allowed me to listen to the wisdom that behavior follows beliefs and giving is living.” 
For more information on the Global Forum for Education and Learning, please visit