Aeriel Thompson
Manager, Teach For America

Aeriel Thompson is a Manager, Teacher Leadership and Development for Teach For America in Oklahoma City and Lawton. In her role she coaches elementary teacher leaders through their first and second years in the classroom. She also designs and facilitates professional development sessions for secondary math teachers. The aim of her work is to develop teachers within an educational system that is compelled to maintain the status quo for what is possible for students of color and students in low- income communities.

Teach for America's ultimate goal seeks to fulfill its mission of 'One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education.' Aeriel seeks to ensure that she is working to see this come to fruition in Oklahoma City and Lawton. She knows that is possible, because she worked tirelessly as a high school math teacher in Indianapolis for 4 years before transitioning to Oklahoma City. Aeriel is known as a leader who leads with hope, passion, and the belief that anything is possible if the vision is strong, the people are committed, and there are moments of joy along the route.

Fighting for educational equity is difficult and draining. Aeriel is personally connected to the mission, because she was the first in her family to graduate college. She is convinced that an excellent education can provide other students the same opportunities. When Aeriel is not working, she is reading about systemic injustices and how it has generationally marginalized poor communities and communities of color.

Aeriel is an avid traveler and is always ready to plan her next trip. She is invested in deepening her understanding of and learning how other people and cultures grow across the globe. She calls South Bend, IN, home, and when she returns, she is greeted by her loving family. She especially makes time for her nieces and nephew; there are eight in the city. Their favorite activities include attending a movie, shopping at Target, reading books, eating out, or relaxing. She still wonders if Oklahoma is considered the Midwest, and she misses the long Indiana summer nights with bonfires and s'mores, and the access to fresh apples and apple cider in the fall.