Tonypandy Community College teacher Luisa Martin-Thomas has been named one of the UK’s teaching elite for her inspirational work within the classroom.
Mrs Martin-Thomas was one of 11 outstanding individuals to receive the highest accolade of the teaching profession at the Pearson Teaching Awards, which celebrates excellence and commitment to the profession.
The senior assistant headteacher at the mid-Rhondda college received her prestigious title at the Oscar-style event in The East Wintergarden at London’s Canary Wharf.
Hosted by BBC presenter, Naga Munchetty, the award panel surprised the winner when her former student Sophie Evans, who is currently appearing in Wicked on the West End Stage, suddenly appeared to present the trophy.
Mrs Martin-Thomas said: “No words can express how absolutely overjoyed I am to have been recognised in this way and I cannot thank the Pearson Teaching Awards enough for the honour.
“I have dedicated my life to the teaching profession and remain as enthusiastic about my role today as the first time I stepped into a classroom 16 years ago.
“Teaching is not just standing behind a desk, its exploring things, adding drama to the learning experience and being dynamic in the classroom.
“You have to make sure no child is every left behind as you develop their appetite for learning and give yourself 100% to what you believe in. I consider myself fortunate to follow such a rewarding career.”
A host of celebrity presenters from two-time Olympic Rower, Heather Stanning, to Strictly Come Dancing Judge, Shirley Ballas also attended the glittering ceremony .
The ceremony will be broadcast as “Britain’s Classroom Heroes” on BBC2 on 29th October at 6pm.
Mrs Martin-Thomas was a Gold winner in the Secondary Teachers Category after being nominated by Tonypandy Community College Headboy Liam Tranter and Headgirl Abbie O’Leary.
She was one of 56 nominees to attend the grand final which highlighted just how vital success in education is to the health and wealth of the UK.
The nomination stated that: “Luisa Martin-Thomas is a teacher with a burning passion to improve the lives of all of the young people she encounters in school. She is a highly committed, professional member of staff who provides fantastic learning and teaching experiences for the students in her lessons.
“All of the staff and students of Tonypandy Community College are made to feel equally important by Luisa and she is always at hand to celebrate their successes.
“A real passion is ensuring that the wellbeing of staff and students is supported effectively and she has been the driving force behind developing a ‘Mindfulness’ hub. It has been a resounding success and supported numerous students through difficult periods.
“Luisa’s positive outlook, drive and energy has enabled the College to be where it is today – a thriving learning community with happy learners and motivated staff.”
Headteacher of Tonypandy Community College Nathan Prygodzicz said: “We are absolutely delighted to share in Mrs Martin-Thomas’s success at the Pearson Teaching Awards.
“Her honour reflects on the very high standard of teaching excellence which we pride ourselves in offering at Tonypandy Community College.”