Philadelphia Academy of School Leaders | Karen Thomas
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Fellow Profiles




Administrative Certification,

Gwynedd Mercy University


M.S. Geosciences,

Northern Arizona University


B.S. Geosciences,

Northern Arizona University


Karen Thomas

Principal Coach, School District of Philadelphia
2017 Neubauer Fellow

“Leading a school in Philadelphia has allowed me to be a part of the evolution taking place here in education. Philadelphia is the birthplace of our country and is now the birthplace of new ideas to create leaders from among our students and staff members.”

Karen has served as Principal Coach for the School District of Philadelphia since 2019. Prior to that, Karen served as the principal of William W. Bodine High School for International Affairs beginning in 2014. Under her leadership, Bodine High School expanded the special admissions high school International Baccalaureate (IB) Program teacher training and class offerings so that all juniors take IB classes or enroll in the full IB diploma program. In addition, Bodine High School received the 2nd Place Ranking in the “2018 List of Standout High Schools in Pennsylvania,” by Niche, the 2015-16 Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Keystone Award for Academic Excellence, and the 2015 School District of Philadelphia’s Peer Leader Award.


Karen has been an educator since 1995.  Prior to her role at the School District, Karen served as principal at Bodine (2014-2019) and Cook-Wissahickon school in Philadelphia (2010-2014) where she implemented a “middle school within a school” model in a K-8 school, resulting in significantly fewer student incidents and increased readiness for high school. In addition to her principal roles, Karen worked as a high school science teacher. Karen grew up on a U.S. Naval base in New London, Connecticut and attended high school in Aston, Pennsylvania.

2017 Neubauer Fellows Page