Some teachers inspire students in such a way you can tell it’s their calling, not just a job. Todd Thompkins is one of them. He teaches AP Physics and Honors Physics at Michael Krop Senior High.  He won the school’s Teacher of the Year in 2017.

Thompkins is currently applying for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. It’s the highest recognition a math or science teacher can receive in the United States. 

 “I really enjoy my job,” he toldSFGN. “I read a study that learning physics helps develop logic and problem solving skills. Your IQ goes up when you learn physics.”

Being biracial and gay, Thompkins describes himself as a “minority two or three times over.” Teaching advanced placement classes and honors classes at Krop seems a world away from where he grew up in Opa Locka. That’s part of the reason he works with the I Have a Dream Foundation, an organization that provides long-term mentoring, tutoring and tuition to children from low-income communities. 

“It’s different than working with kids from Aventura who are going to Yale.” he said. “I know these kids and how to motivate them. I love giving them an opportunity to see that they can do something.”

— Denise Royal 


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