Cheli M. Thomas, Ph.D.

Cheli M. Thomas, Ph.D.


Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, IL.

Ph.D.               Educational Leadership

Dissertation: Black Youth Identity Development: Media Influence in a Colorblind Society

Committee: Chair, Pamela J. Konkol; Members, Sophia Rodriguez, Amy Swain

Ball State University, Muncie, IN.

M.A.E.             Educational Administration and Supervision

Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN.

B.S.                   General Education Studies


Illinois State Board of Education                                   Superintendent Endorsement

Illinois State Board of Education                                   General Administrative License Illinois Type 75

Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, IL.         Teaching Online Certification

Illinois State Board of Education                                   Principal Evaluation Training (PERA)

West 40 Intermediate Service Center                          Teachscape Training for Teacher Evaluation

About Learning, Inc., Wauconda, IL.                            4Mat Foundations Site Trainer

Arizona Department of Education                                Administrative License K-12 (expired)


Thomas, C.M. (2016). Black youth identity development: Media influence in a colorblind society. (Doctoral Dissertation).  Retrieved from ProQuest.  (Accession Number 10253247).

Thomas, C.M. (In Press, Educational Studies, Routledge). Society and the Classroom: Teaching Truths and Bridging Diversity in a Discordant Era.

Thomas, C.M. (under review). Assessing Black youth identity development in a colorblind society.



– 2016 – Present

– Educational leadership

– Social justice, equity, diversity & inclusion

– Sociology

– Political Science

– Diversity, equity and inclusion

– Youth identity development

– Post-racial ideology

– Racial-ethnic identity and socialization

– Navigating complex metaphors and racial discourse in post-racial contexts

Independent Researcher 2016-Present

University Affiliation – Concordia University Chicago.  Sociopolitical trends impacting equity, diversity and inclusion; Black youth identity development, toxic discourse in US society.

Peer Reviewer 2017- Present

Providing substantive assessment of professional submissions for scholarly contribution to the fields of social science and education

Blogger/Writer 2016 – Present

Topics include teaching and leading for social justice, truth in modern classroom discourse, critical conversations on race and racism, colorblind ideology, critical White studies, and politics.


2012-2013       Chicago Public Schools, Interim STEM Pilot Site Program Manager

PreK-8 Principal

2005 – 2012      South / West Suburban Cook County Illinois, and Northwest Indiana

K-12 evaluation, strategic planning, and educator coaching; Principal and teacher preparation; Cognitive and social/emotional youth development

– Student college and career readiness

– Social/emotional conditions for learning

– Equality of access to public education and related services

– At-risk and under-served children and adolescents

– Curriculum and instruction

– Student Information Analysis (qualitative and quantitative)

Principal Preparation

2007 – 2010      Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL. Administrative Collaborator

Collaborated with program leaders to develop and provide integrated support for emergent principals.  In this accredited program, new principals were guided through their first years of administration with professional development, workshops and on-site job shadowing.

2002 – 2005      Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago, IL.

Interactive Teaching and Learning (ITL) Comprehensive School Reform (CSR) Specialist, Coach/Trainer

Developed and facilitated standards-based curriculum, instruction and school leadership support for teachers and administrators within CPS schools.  Evaluated the needs of each school site and its staff.  Designed support services to address deficiencies based on identified needs, as well as NCLB and ISBE school improvement targets.  Onsite support included: 1) coaching administrators in the implementation and training of school leadership teams; 2) teaching curriculum and instruction; 3) working with vertical and horizontal teams in student assessment and curriculum implementation; and 4) modeling best practices, teaching techniques, and multiple assessments.  Offsite support included: 1) professional development in school and teacher leadership; 2) data driven decision making and resource allocation; and 3) school improvement planning, preparation, and evaluation.


2004 – 2005      Office of Teacher Re-certification and Professional Standards: Learning Actively by Standards (L.A.B.S.), Chicago, IL. Course taught   Classroom Management for Teachers and Administrators

1989 – 1993Archdiocese of Chicago, Chicago, IL. Classroom teacher, junior high


Thomas, C.M. (2017). Putting Social Justice into Action: Helping Students to Develop the Capacity for Critical Thinking. Chicago, IL: Alternative session facilitator at the Mid-Western Regional Educational Research Association

Thomas, C.M. (2016). “Black Youth Identity Development: Media Influence in a Colorblind Society.” Seattle, WA: Paper presenter at the American Educational Studies Association Annual Meeting

Thomas, C.M. (2015). Racial-ethnic Self-identity and Oppression among Marginalized Youth.  San Antonio, TX: Paper presenter at the American Educational Studies Association Annual Meeting


American Education Research Association, Peer reviewer, 2018

Mid-Western Educational Research Association, Submission peer reviewer, 2018, 2017

American Educational Studies Association, Graduate student volunteer, conference registration management, 2016, 2015

Chicago Freedom Movement, Member, Activist, 2005-2006

Coalition for Evidence–Based Policy: Washington D.C., Member, 2004

Policy Academy: Developing Systems of Care for Children with Mental Health Needs, Participant, 2004


Teaching as Possibility: Becoming a Critical Educator in an Age of Compliance.  (Guest panelist of P. Hinchey) Concordia University Chicago, River Forest, IL. 2013


Thomas, C.M. (2009). Seven Modes of Discipline. Professional Development workshop. Maywood-Melrose Park SD 89, Maywood, IL.

Thomas, C.M. (2010). Acuity Training for District Administrators. School City of Hammond, Hammond, IN.

Thomas, C.M., Pietrzak, M., Williams, W., Ortiz, T. (2004). Focus on Standards Based Curriculum and Instruction. ITL. Chicago, IL.

Thomas, C.M., Pietrzak, M. (2004). Barton School Retreat. ITL, Lisle, IL.

Boswell, C.A., Pietrzak, M., Williams, W., Carry, D.D., Thomas, C.M. Ortiz, T. (2004). Revitalizing Building Leadership: Reflections, Responses, and Resolutions, Focus on ISAT: A Three-Part Workshop Series. ITL.  Lisle, IL.

Carry, D.D., Thomas, C.M. (2004). Rhythm and Language of Rhyme.  Early Childhood Centers of Education Network Meeting. Chicago, IL.

Carry, D.D., Thomas, C.M. (2004).  Story Dictation and Dramatization. Trainer, Early Childhood Centers of Education Network Meeting. Chicago, IL.

Boswell, C.A., Pietrzak, M., Williams, W., Carry, D.D., Thomas, C.M. (2003). Creating Interactive Readers While Raising Test Scores, ITL, Chicago, IL.

Boswell, C.M.  Pietrzak, M., Thomas, C. M. (2003). Building Leadership: Roles, Styles and Relationships.  ITL Training Retreat, St. Charles, IL.

Pietrzak, M., Williams, W., Boswell, C.M., Ortiz, T., Thomas, C.M. (2003). Focus on ISAT: A Three- Part Workshop Series. ITL, Chicago, IL.


Artistic Design Construction, Inc., Owner, operator

Texas Reading Recovery and Early Literacy Conference. Dallas, TX. October 1996

Northeast Early Literacy and Reading Recovery Institute.  Danvers, MA. October 1996

Illinois Reading Recovery Conference.  Chicago, IL. January 1995

National Reading Recovery Conference.  Columbus, OH. February 1996


American Education Research Association (current member)

American Educational Studies Association (current member)

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (current member)

Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (past member)

Illinois Principal’s Association (past member)

Mid-Western Educational Research Association (current member)

Society for the Study of Social Problems (current member)