Sioux Falls School District Teacher of the Year Nominee: Lynn Thomason

Lauren Teller, Staff Writer

Lincoln High School is regarded as an outstanding school for excellence in athletics, academics and the arts, but the reason for the success of the school lies in the incredible teaching done by the faculty and staff. One superb teacher at LHS is Latin teacher Lynn Thomason, who has recently been nominated as a finalist for the Sioux Falls School District Teacher of the Year award.

Thomason began teaching within the district 13 years ago, and has remained the only Latin teacher at LHS since. Thomason’s experiences during her high school Latin classes heavily influenced her career choice as an adult. 

“[Deciding to be a Latin teacher] was a combination of a calling that I felt at a very early age and also the exposure and the wonderful experience that I had in classrooms, especially with my own high school Latin teacher,” said Thomason. “I still keep in touch with her.”

Teaching is not always for the light-hearted. What keeps Thomason coming back to LHS year after year is the students that she works with. Her passion for teaching motivates her to constantly keep improving her craft in order to create the best possible learning experience for students.

“The students deserve the best, whether they’re past or present,” said Thomason. “So, that means that I constantly have to be on my toes, especially technology-wise to make sure that they are getting the absolute best that not only I personally can offer, but that the school can offer to them and that means different methods of instruction, different technologies, it means different ways of presenting information, it means different ways of assessments, really the students just deserve the best.”

As a nominee for the district Teacher of the Year Award, Thomason clearly has touched the lives of many students, and along the way many have stuck with her as well. Teaching is much more than a day job for Thomason; she personally sets her sights on ensuring that each one of her students reaches their full potential.

“I love to look out at the students and see their faces,” said Thomason. “I love it especially when I know that a student has been struggling with a concept and they get it. I don’t think that students realize what happens to their face when they finally have comprehension. Their eyes light up and their whole face lights up and they smile. It’s just the best thing to watch someone go from ‘I don’t get this’ to ‘I got it!’ I love that. I love also to help the students realize what their potential is. If their potential is a C, then let’s get the C. If their potential is an A, then let’s get the A.”

Although Thomason believes in hard work both in and outside of the classroom, she knows that students like to let loose and joke every once and awhile. Thomason makes sure to incorporate enjoyable elements into her teaching to keep students engaged in daily material.

“I love the laughter,” said Thomason. “I absolutely love the laughter. I don’t mind a class clown. The Latin word for game is the Latin plural for school. So even the Romans knew that in order to learn, you have to have fun. I just love having fun; I love our trips, I love the students who go on to AP Latin and get all those credits for college, and just to watch their faces and to have them keep in touch with me after they graduate, because they’re going to solve problems, they’re going to make things better.”