Dr. Leticia Thomas Brereton
Dr. Leticia Thomas is a sociolinguist, educator, school administrator, university professor, community activist, and cultural advocate.
She was born in Panama City and raised in Parque Lefevre. She is the daughter of Dr. Leslie E. Thomas (RIP), and Mrs. Leonora Claudia Bullen de Thomas.
After completing high school at the Justo Arosemena Institute in Panama she traveled to Canada where she studied linguistics and modern languages and in 1975 she obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University in Montreal. In that same year she settled in Brooklyn, New York where she continued her studies and began to work teaching and as an advocate for immigrants in the New York City Public Schools.
In 1977 she earned her Master of Arts degree in Spanish from Columbia University and in 1983 she earned a Master of Science degree in Bilingual Education from Long Island University. She has a Ph.D. in Linguistics Applied to Second Language Learning from New York University. She also has certifications as a Permanent NYS School District Administrator and a Permanent NYS School Administrator and Supervisor.
Her professional experience includes many years as a bilingual educator, language teacher, teacher trainer, bilingual resource specialist, curriculum director, and supervisor of second language programs. In Brooklyn, she was a teacher at Midwood High School, the first Assistant Principal for Administration/Pupil Personnel Services at the Medgar Evers College Preparatory School and an Assistant Principal at Sheepshead Bay High School. She was also a professor at Brooklyn College, Medgar Evers College, and Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Throughout her career as an educator and supervisor of language programs in New York State, she has received recognition from New York City, New York State, as well as from the US Federal government.
For more than 30 years as an educator in Brooklyn and Long Island, she has proven to be a strong advocate for bilingual and bicultural education. She established GED basic education programs for immigrant adults as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for students and their parents in after-school sessions and on weekends.
She firmly believes that we should cherish the legacies of our ancestors because they are an intrinsic part of our identity. Among these legacies are the peculiarities that we use to express ourselves, as is the case of the Afro-Antillean English of Panama. Our English carries influences from Africa, the Caribbean and also from the vernacular Spanish of Panama.
She carried out a sociolinguistic study of the Afro-Antillean community residing in Panama City. The result of this scientific study appears in "An Exploration of Panamanian Creole English" where for the first time the syntactic patterns, lexical elements and socio-linguistic characteristics of the Afro-Antillean English of Panama can be appreciated. Dr. Thomas is also the author of the Dictionary of Panamanian English, a volume that documents the popular vocabulary of Panamanian Creole English.
She is the mother of Kira, Amílcar and Shaira and is the grandmother of a grandson. Toño.