Sept. 12, 2011 — The State Board of Education (SBOE) selected Tommie Friday, an active volunteer in the Klein ISD, as a 2011 Hero for Children. Klein ISD reading specialist Jan Cook nominated Friday for his three years of outstanding volunteer service at Krahn Elementary. The SBOE will honor Friday along with 14 volunteers on Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, at its meeting in Austin.
“Mentors and role models are very important in our lives and to our Texas education system,” said Friday. “I want to give back to education what it has given to me; a first-class ticket out of poverty which allowed me to be successful.”
Friday dedicates three days a week to Krahn by working with a variety of students with reading challenges. Using his own personal equipment and materials, he has become renowned for his expertise and flexibility to accommodate those students who need him most.
“Mr. Friday is a popular interventionist with our teachers because of his willingness to work with any student, his calm and respectful demeanor towards everyone, and the successes he helps students achieve,” said Cook. “His dedication to the students is unwavering, which is evident by his perfect attendance and relentless pursuit of regular, intensive instruction. He truly has a heart for helping students.”
Friday worked for 26 years as a manager of health science associates for Merck/MSD, where he developed a desire to help children with Dyslexia. Paying his own way for training, he became a certified reading instructor in 2007 after completing a 120 hour course, including first-hand student instruction, at the Neuhous Education Center in Houston. As a certified instructor, Cook noted that Friday could charge to tutor students with severe reading issues. But, because of his own personal struggle with reading throughout his life, Friday chooses to serve the students of Krahn as a volunteer.
“Reading volunteers, such as me, can change the lives of a Dyslexic child,” he expressed. “I know that the children enjoy our time together and I see growth in their reading skills and confidence. My struggles in reading have helped me relate to their challenges, and I get a great pleasure from giving them the gift of reading.”
Friday has a Master of Science degree in biology and chemistry. He spent seven years teaching at the high school level and currently teaches biology and nutrition at a Lone Star Community College.