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Archive for December, 2013

Kannon Shanmugam is Elected Chair of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Board of Trustees

December 16, 2013

Kannon Shanmugam, a current Trustee and supporter of the school, was elected Chair of Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Board of Trustees on December 3, 2013. Mr. Shanmugam assumes the role that George Brown has held since 2007. “George’s leadership over the past eight years has been invaluable to the school’s success. In addition to my personal appreciation for his guidance, the entire Board is grateful for his support and unwavering commitment to the mission and vision of Thurgood Marshall Academy. We wouldn’t be the school we are today without George,” states the school’s Executive Director, Alexandra Pardo. Mr. Brown will continue to serve on the Board as a Trustee.

Thurgood Marshall Academy’s Board of Trustees oversees the management and strategic development of the school, makes policy decisions, and works to enlist support for Thurgood Marshall Academy throughout the District of Columbia. The decision to elect Mr. Shanmugam as Chair of the Board was unanimous among Board members, “I can’t think of anyone more appropriate to represent TMA than one of Williams & Connolly’s finest Supreme Court advocates. Under Kannon’s leadership TMA will continue its tradition of excellence and expand its role as a national leader for the charter school movement,” says Katie Herman, former Thurgood Marshall Academy staff member and current Trustee.

Kannon is currently a Partner at Williams & Connolly LLP and has argued 13 cases before the Supreme Court. He has been recognized by numerous publications as one of the nation’s leading Supreme Court and appellate advocates. In a recent profile, The National Law Journal praised Mr. Shanmugam for his “confident manner and elegant elocution” before the Court. In listing him as a notable appellate practitioner, Chambers USA described him as an “extraordinary advocate” who is “recommended by clients for his fresh perspective and energetic approach.” On behalf of the United States, he successfully argued Tellabs v. Makor Rights, which involved the standard for pleading state of mind in securities-fraud actions, and Weyerhaeuser v. Ross-Simmons, which concerned the standard for predatory-bidding claims under the federal antitrust laws.

Mr. Shanmugam received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1993; his M. Litt. from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar; and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was executive editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mr. Shanmugam clerked for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and for Judge J. Michael Luttig on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Lawdragon magazine has named Kannon one of the 500 leading lawyers in America, and Washingtonian magazine has selected him as one of the top lawyers practicing before the Supreme Court and as one of 20 people in Washington to watch. In addition, before Mr. Shanmugam turned 40, he was listed by The National Law Journal as one of the top 40 lawyers under 40 in Washington and also as one of the top 40 minority lawyers under 40 in the country. Mr. Shanmugam is president of the Edward Coke Appellate Inn of Court, the principal bench-bar organization for appellate judges and lawyers in the Washington area. He also currently serves as vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Appellate Practice Committee. Additionally, Kannon is an adjunct professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he teaches a class on Supreme Court advocacy.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve as Board Chair. I look forward to working with the Board and staff to maintain and improve TMA’s position as one of the city’s leading charter schools,” states Kannon.

Thurgood Marshall Academy’s staff, faculty, students, and Board echo this excitement, and look forward to collaborating with Mr. Shanmugam as the school prepares the next generation of students to succeed in college and beyond.

TMA Community Serves Those in Need through the Mentor Program

One Saturday a month, local volunteers serve as mentors to our students. They attend workshops, field trips, and spend quality time together throughout the school year. Our mentors and students spent December’s Mentor Day serving the community and reflecting on the things for which they were most grateful. To prepare for this Mentor Day, everyone at TMA participated in a school-wide competition where students, faculty, and staff donated toiletries, socks, underwear, hats, scarves, and similar items to create gift boxes for S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat), a local non-profit that provides meals, health services, and job training for the homeless. In just two short weeks, the Thurgood Marshall Academy family showed their holiday spirit by donating over 400 items to S.O.M.E.’s Shoebox Gift Drive.

During the Saturday Mentor Workshop, students and their mentors filled boxes with toiletries, socks, underwear, scarves, and similar items for the local nonprofit S.O.M.E. (So Others Might Eat). They also created Christmas Tree centerpieces, paper ornaments, and garlands to bring some holiday cheer to the homeless shelter at S.O.M.E. After a hard day’s work, the mentors and mentees relaxed for a meal created by New Course Catering, an organization committed to the professional training and personal growth of low-income and homeless men and women in the Metro DC area by providing culinary arts training and job placement for trainees with local restaurants, hotels, and caterers.

This mentor day was filled with holiday cheer, hard work and gratitude for all that we have and are able to do. In total, we donated 75 holiday gift boxes, four Christmas Tree centerpieces and a dozen garlands and ornaments. Most of all, we delivered the message that TMA cares about the homeless in our city. Thurgood Marshall Academy and the Mentor Program definitely made a tremendous impact this holiday season!

Thurgood Marshall Academy Students Receive Prestigious POSSE Foundation Scholarship

We’re excited to announce that three seniors received full-tuition scholarships from the POSSE Foundation. Joey Adams was accepted to Sewanee University of the South, while Amber Hudson and Kavon Holley were accepted to the University of Rochester.

(L to R: Joey Adams, Amber Hudson, Kavon Holley)

POSSE conducts extensive outreach to identify young leaders around the country who have the academic qualifications and personal motivation to excel at highly selective colleges and universities, but may be missed by traditional admissions criteria. After being nominated for the award, Joey, Amber, and Kavon underwent a rigorous application and interview process. Being a POSSE Scholar offers more than just financial assistance: Scholars receive the emotional and social support necessary to graduate and succeed in college. These students also connect with POSSE mentors, form a strong cohort with other Scholars at their universities, and attend an annual retreat.

These young women are part of a legacy of Thurgood Marshall Academy graduates who have been recognized by the POSSE Foundation and are at University of Wisconsin-Madison (Te’Asia Capies, TMA ’13), Pepperdine University (Shamir Fauntleroy, TMA ‘12), and Lafayette College (Ciera Eaddy, TMA ’10).