Dwight Thompson, Renaissance West STEAM Academy

  • Dwight Thompson always had a passion for education. He knew education was the key to success in life and began his teaching career when he was 21 years old. After more than a decade in the profession, he wanted to make a bigger impact as a principal.

    “I wanted to expand my impact to a community that was struggling academically,” Thompson said. “I knew that I was doing important work and making a difference. That's always been my go-to.”

    Thompson is a native of Burlington, N.C., a small town near Greensboro. He spent 17 years as an elementary school teacher with Guilford County Schools before joining Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at University Park Creative Arts School. He also held resident principal and assistant principal positions at other schools before becoming principal at Tuckaseegee Elementary School in 2019. Two years later, he was named principal at Renaissance West STEAM Academy, the “designated school to eradicate barriers,” he said.

    “I had never had a teacher that looked like me; I have never had a teacher of color,” Thompson said. “I thought that I needed to be more representative of that particular population for them to see themselves in that career. I think the teaching career for me just opened the door for everything and was an opportunity to have a part in someone's life.”

    Thompson now tries to give the same opportunity he received to other teachers and staff who, like him, want to impact the community. Monique Carr, a math and science teacher at Renaissance West STEAM Academy, has benefited from his guidance.

    “When I think about Mr. Thompson, I think about a man with a vision,“ Carr said. “He gives us the steps we need to take to make sure that the vision is achieved. He provides us with resources as he follows us through the school year. He creates leaders.”

    Carr chose to follow Thompson from Tuckaseegee Elementary to Renaissance West. She said he treats staff like family, helps them work through difficult conversations when necessary, and never shows if he is having a bad day.

    “I am extremely satisfied to work with him,” she said. “He is a great leader.”