Alumni Profile: Brandon Thurston, Class of 2012

Brandon Thurston

Dr. Brandon Thurston serves as chancellor of a pre-k through 5th-grade elementary campus of about 350 students in the Midland Independent School District in Texas. During his undergraduate years at Henderson State, Thurston was very active on campus, representing students through Student Government Association, All Greek Council, Chamber Chorale, and Greek life as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.

When did you graduate, and what was your major?

I received my bachelor’s degree in May 2012 for education here at Henderson State. I then completed my master’s degree in December 2014 in education leadership and policy studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. My doctorate in educational leadership was completed in May 2018 at Texas A&M University-Texarkana.

Why did you choose Henderson?

I attended the “Summer Institute” in 2005 and met some members of the HSU faculty and staff. I just fell in love with the campus. 

Who were your favorite professors?

Mr. Eric Bailey gave great instruction and was very engaging. Dr. Kenneth Harris was funny and told great stories. I never had Dr. Celya Taylor in class, but she always listened, and that I appreciate to this day.

What is your current occupation?

Chancellor (principal) of Sam Houston Collegiate Preparatory Elementary School

How did Henderson prepare you for your career?

I became a stronger writer, obtained a strong understanding of music theory, and gained experiences in Arkadelphia Public School and the HSU Child Development Center. Through leadership roles, I was able to practice building a budget, organization, etc.

What is your favorite memory of Henderson?

One of my favorite memories is when I returned to campus in August 2007. My fraternity brothers met my mom and me in the parking lot to help me move my belongings into my room. Another favorite memory is when the Ques hosted a toga party, and I was one of the only ones who wore a toga.

When’s the last time you have been on the Henderson campus?

Homecoming 2019

What other job do you think you’d be really good at?

I think I would be good as an HR director or therapist.

How do you relax after a hard day?

I “unplug” from school tasks such as emails and reports. I take walks and listen to podcasts.

Who do you admire the most, and why?

I admire my mother, Daphena Thurston, the most. She has taught me so much and has always been my biggest supporter. Moreover, she recently graduated with an associate’s degree and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree. I admire my sister, Jessica Thurston, who is one of the hardest working people I know.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Just live, have fun, go on spontaneous road trips, especially while in college.

What’s the hardest lesson you’ve learned?

The hardest lesson I’ve learned is how to be a leader of a campus (e.g., curriculum, instruction, management, culture, budget).

What are three interesting facts about you?

I would like to be a personal shopper if ever given the chance. I love onions. Gladys Knight is my favorite singer.

If your life was a book, what would its title be?

Of Course I Struggle, I Just Don’t Quit

If you could make one rule that everyone had to follow, what would it be?

Dress professionally at work and other important settings (e.g., interviews, business meetings).

What have you been doing since the Corona Virus outbreak?

I have been extremely busy closing out the 2019-2020 school year and preparing my campus to offer in-person and virtual instruction.