Thomas J. Porton

Thomas Porton believes that his most important teaching
takes place outside the classroom and in the community. An English/drama
teacher at James Monroe High School in the Bronx, New York, since 1970,
Porton takes his students out of their impoverished neighborhoods and
into the New York City metropolitan area both to learn and to teach.

Porton created the “Monroe Eagle Players,” a community theater
company that performs for audiences ranging from senior citizens, to day
care youngsters, to the homeless. Porton’s innovative AIDS education
project, includes student-written pamphlets about HIV prevention and
transmission, “friendship grams” of support to those afflicted with AIDS
and HIV, baskets of love to AIDS patients at local hospitals, and the
AIDS VAN, Porton’s personal mini-van transformed into a mobile HIV/AIDS
information center. Teen educators then perform street corner outreach
throughout New York City.

Porton taught English at Jane Addams High School in the Bronx from
1969-1970. He currently teaches at the Monroe Academy for Visual Arts
and Design in the Bronx. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from
New York University.

Special Recognition


1998 USA American Teacher Team
Disney American Teacher Award
1999 Readers Digest American Heroes in Education


1997 U.S.-Russia-Ukraine Award for Excellence in Teaching, sponsored by ACTR/ACCELS (trip to Russia in October, 1997)


“One City” Award from the Citizens Committee of New York City


“Creating Compassion: HIV/AIDS Peer Education” wins “Program of
Excellence Award” (the highest award for language arts in New York
State) from New York State English Council


State Farm Insurance “Good Neighbor Award”


Northern Life Insurance “Unsung Heroes” Award


Teacher of Excellence Award from the New York State Council of English


Mayor’s Volunteer Service Award


Human Relations Award form the National Council of Christians and Jews


Teacher of the Year by the Federation of Bronx Parents


Teacher of the Year by the Federation of Bronx Parents