Teacher of the Year Finalist!

Thora Balk

PreK Teacher, Thora Balk, was a finalist for the
Washington Post 2019 Teacher of the Year!

A founding teacher of Capital City, Thora’s visionary approach to Early Childhood Education has ensured our youngest learners have received a high-quality education for nearly 20 years. At Capital City, she has served as a Pre-K/K teacher, Inclusion teacher for 1st-6th graders, and Early Childhood Director. An expert in curriculum development, Thora designed our highly-regarded, inclusive, early childhood program. She is also a teacher leader, serving on the Instructional Leadership Team, training teaching fellows and mentoring new early childhood teachers. We are incredibly thankful to have an educator like Ms. Balk as part of the Capital City community!

See what parents, students, and staff have to say about Ms. Balk!

"I have great regards for Ms. Balk, she was and will continue to be one of my favorite teachers whom I owe so much. At the time I entered the school in 3rd grade, I had an IEP for a learning disability and I was reading at a kindergarten level. My self-esteem was very low. Ms. Balk helped me by first providing me with a trusting, safe and supportive teaching atmosphere. She was caring, patient, encouraging and kind. She continuously praised and motivated me to want to read. The manner in which she explained and presented the material made it so much easier to understand. I was able to bring my confidence up. I was excited about reading and it gave me hope to overcome my disability. Mainly, I am thankful that during the time I was with her, she believed that I could learn."

— Emma Quander, Capital City alumni and former student of Ms. Balk

"The peaceful presence she brings to the classroom along with her exquisite skill in teaching is unlike any educator I have ever witnessed. Thora is masterful in her art, inspiring young children to discover their gifts and ultimately, discover a lifelong love of learning." 

— Dixcy Bosley-Smith, parent of a student Thora taught in Kindergarten

"I first met Thora when we hired her to be a founding teacher of Capital City Public Charter School. This is one of the best hiring decisions I have ever made! She always puts children and their needs first and has been instrumental in building a classroom and school culture that does the same."

— Karen Dresden, Capital City Co-Founder and Head of School

"Thora's legacy in DC's public schools stretches far and wide. Students now out of college come back to visit her and send her notes about how she has changed their lives. Parents return to thank her. Teachers she has mentored line the classrooms of Capital City and many other DC public schools. She has spent her entire adult life tending to our youngest, and in many cases, most vulnerable little people. She has changed the lives of so many children.

— Amy Wendel, Capital City Lower School Principal

"The time, thought, care and compassion [Thora] puts into planning, teaching and coaching is beyond inspiring and results in a holistic classroom full of kind, creative and responsible children. I'm lucky to learn from her every day." 

— Daizy Cushner, Early Childhood Arts Teacher