Lincoln High School Statesman

‘Optima magistra:’ LHS teacher named SFSD teacher of the year

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‘Optima magistra:’ LHS teacher named SFSD teacher of the year

Thomason receives nomination for teacher of the year.

Thomason receives nomination for teacher of the year.

SFSD

Thomason receives nomination for teacher of the year.

SFSD

SFSD

Thomason receives nomination for teacher of the year.

Gage Gramlick, Editor-in-Chief

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“My first thought was happiness,” said Lynn Thomason, the new 2019 Dr. John Harris W. Teacher of the Year.

This annual prize of $4,000 is given to a full time teacher in the Sioux Falls School District (SFSD) who “differentiates instruction based on student needs, designs engaging lessons to improve classroom and/or school culture, and inspires students to recognize their potential impact and role in a larger community.” Until Monday, March 4, the last LHS teacher who won the award was the 2010 recipient, Teresa Timmerman. Now, Thomason stands the golden standard of teaching in the SFSD, and her students could not be happier.

“She deserves it,” said Latin 3 student Eli Moore. “Every day she comes in and does her best to make sure her kids understands what’s going on. She takes it personally if the student isn’t doing well.”

And, historically, her students have done very well. For this, Thomason is well-acquainted with the nomination process.

“I have been nominated four times,” said Thomason. “The district releases a list of nominees, and we all received an email. The people who work with this award are so nice and pay great attention to detail. Then the  list is narrowed to finalists. There is a dessert reception for all nominees and finalists. Everyone watches a superb video on the finalists and then committee members announce the winner. It is a great honor to be nominated.”

The award reception was held at the El Riad Shrine Mosque, where student after student came to support Thomason. When the host read off “TMO,” Thomason’s nickname, the students went wild.

“When the nickname was announced, my first thought was happiness for the students who nominated me,” said Thomason. “I was just beyond worried that they were going to be disappointed. The emotion was overwhelming. I started to cry but my son told me that I had to go up front!”

Students’ love for Thomason runs deep, and that night, it was almost tangible. Different students love her for different reasons, but one fact seems clear: Thomason is invested.

“She is a phenomenal teacher,” said AP Latin student Max Chedester. “My favorite thing about her as a teacher is how enthusiastic she is. It really shows in how she treats her students. She’s always excited to see them.”

Thomason, despite all of her recent recognition, remains humble.

“Thank you for your kind words,” said Thomason. “My students deserve the absolute best in every way. They work so hard and just give me such joy!”

Author
Gage Gramlick, Editor-in-Chief

LHS senior Gage Gramlick is editor-in-chief of the online and print versions of the Statesman. He is also editor-in-chief of your mom. Outside of giving...

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