Ms. York, Principal
Hello Future & Current Thurston Families!
My name is Natasha York and I am proud to be the principal of Thurston Elementary School. There are so many wonderful things that I would love to share with you about our amazing school but let me begin by telling you a little about myself. I am what people like to call a "Homegrown". What does that mean? It means that I have truly experienced everything that AAPS has had to offer! I began my journey at Mack Elementary School, followed by Slauson Middle School and on to Community High School. This was quite the adventure for me but I made it through with a fantastic education and the desire to learn more. After graduation I left Ann Arbor and headed to Southern University and A & M College in Baton Rouge, LA. There I obtained a degree in psychology. Still not quite ready to come back home, I moved to Houston, TX where I obtained my certification in early childhood and taught Preschool/Kindergarten. After two years of southern hospitality, I decided to head back to Ann Arbor. Upon returning I was hired into the Ann Arbor Public Schools system. During my 9 year stay I was fortunate enough to teach 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades and completed a Master's Degree in the Art of Teaching and Curriculum Design. I have to say that through it all, there has not been a grade I didn't enjoy. In 2011, I was fortunate enough to be hired as the Principal of Thurston Elementary. For the last 10 years, I have gotten to know and love our heron community.
On behalf of the Thurston Staff, WELCOME to the most wonderful and amazing experience Ann Arbor has to offer! We look forward to all of the fantastic memories we will share together.
Mr. Chalfant, Assistant Principal
It is with great excitement that I greet you as the new Assistant Principal of Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and Thurston Elementary School. I cannot wait to meet each of you, and to begin building strong relationships across our community. Ann Arbor symbolizes the start of my work in education--it’s where it all began. I received a masters in education at the University of Michigan in 2013 and it’s now my forever home.
I spent the last three school years leading positive change as a school principal in Flat Rock, MI, and most recently, as principal at Allen Elementary in Ann Arbor. Before that, I spent my entire career in education with D.C. Public Schools, teaching both kindergarten and 5th grade and in school leadership, as an Instructional Coach and Dean of Students. In the Spring of 2019, I successfully defended my dissertation and earned a doctorate in Educational Leadership at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. I researched effective reading strategies and studied the implementation of a new reading program at my school, while examining the positive changes in student achievement. I look forward to working together with staff, families, and students at King and Thurston to evaluate the effectiveness of our academic programs to ensure we are meeting the needs ofall of our students.
I am originally from Norfolk, VA, where I both attended Old Dominion University and spent three years in law enforcement. I have also coached wrestling for nearly 15 years. My family, including my wife, Rachel, our 4 year-old son, Landon, and our 21-month old twins, Carter and Ella, live within the Ann Arbor Public Schools boundaries and we look forward to becoming part of the school community.
Anyone who knows me understands that the foundation of who I am is children. In school, it’s my belief that we need to have an unconditional positive regard for children. Our decisions need to be made while looking through the lens of taking care of children. This means looking out for the best interest of students at all times. Our students deserve to be challenged and engaged in meaningful work that will spark their interest and to have their social and emotional needs met through engaging and personalized instruction.
I look forward to building and fostering relationships with each of you in the coming days and months!