Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Dr. Mary Thompson

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Dr. Mary Thompson is this week's Amazing Woman of the Suncoast. She is a teacher, dedicated to her students, her community, and to lifetime learning; an inspiration to all who know her.

Mary Thompson was born in Detroit, Michigan, the oldest of 3 children. "I was the epitome of ‘Mary, Mary, quite contrary’. I was always the boss."

But she was great fun to have around. "I'm always an idea person. I could think up the games in the neighborhood; we played school a lot."

She’s always been a passionate reader, always wanting to learn new things. She was a Brownie and a Girl Scout. "And still help out as a leader today."

She moved to Florida after college to start her career. "I started work on Montgomery Ward on Bee Ridge and 41. I was a career counselor to help people who were working in the store move up get the academic skills."

She discovered she loved teaching. "Then I went to Venice High School and was an occupational specialist."

Then she went back to school at Florida State and then got her doctorate degree from Penn State. "I taught for a few years at Auburn University, worked at the Florida Department of Education."

But her real love is the classroom. She now teaches business and marketing at Braden River High. "I bind a lot of English, reading, as well as history into my classes. And that's the content I build in the front and then the technology in the back."

And her students also hold classes for the senior citizens at Horseshoe Cove Mobile Home Park. "They've gotten a new smart phone, a tablet, a laptop…don't know how to use it."

Dr. Thompson's students teach them technology.

She never married, but she has friends -- like Brian and Barbara Ford Coates, who are as close as family. And to her, her students are her children.

She is a happy woman. "My philosophy has always been come up with lots of ideas and you've got to follow through those ideas."

And her life lesson? "That you've got to continue to learn…get out and try something new every day."

Dr. Thompson was nominated by fellow Braden River High teacher Susan Busby.

If you know someone who you think we should honor as an amazing woman, just send us a nomination by emailing us at