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Lawyer Finds Fulfilment in Switch to Teaching

James Thrall

James Thrall, 47, of Palm Coast believes the true measure of success lies in how we help make the world a better place, and he’s decided to do it one child at a time. 

The Michigan transplant graduated from Daytona State’s Educator Preparation Institute (EPI) during the college’s 54th annual commencement on May 13 and is beginning a new career as a teacher. It’s a titanic shift from his prior career as an attorney, where for 15 years he practiced family, divorce and criminal law in the Wolverine State. But he said teaching provides a sense of satisfaction and purpose that eluded him when he was practicing law. 

“As an attorney, I witnessed much of the worst that people had to offer - and that helped me see the importance of helping people be their best,” he said, adding that being an educator gives him that opportunity and fulfillment. 

DSC’s EPI is a state-approved pathway to alternative teaching certification for people who already have a degree/s. EPI students take 20 instructional credit hours that include field experiences in area schools, mentoring and modeling. Thrall said he was impressed by the program’s proactive focus on behavioral management. 

The experience already landed him a temporary teaching position at Buddy Taylor Middle School in Palm Coast. This summer, he will take the Florida Teacher Certification Examinations to earn his five-year Florida Professional Educator’s Certificate. At that point, he will be eligible for permanent employment. 

He said middle school teaching is a good fit for him. “It’s a good place to possibly influence kids, to model appropriate behavior and, hopefully, have an impact on them where they develop that intrinsic drive to learn and succeed.” 

Passionate about his new career, he said, “When we leave this earth someday, we had better leave it with a positive impact. if you’re going to create waves, why not create positive waves, where every time you touch someone, it creates another positive wave?” 

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{May 14, 2014}

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Last updated: 2014-09-11T19:00:44.746Z