Kim Thomas of Peoria Public Schools District named 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year
Normal, IL â€” The Illinois State Board of Education named Kim Thomas, a math teacher at Woodruff Career and Technical Center, the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year. One of 10 finalists, Thomas was announced as this yearâ€™s top educator during Saturday nightâ€™s 41st annual Those Who Excel/Illinois Teacher of the Year banquet in Normal.
â€œMs. Thomas uses her energy and dedication to motivate her students to learn and achieve in every lesson she teaches,â€ said State Superintendent Tony Smith. â€œShe develops creative techniques to teach her students and challenge their attitudes towards math. Her enthusiasm for teaching is inspiring.â€
Thomas believes she has a duty to her students to continually develop herself professionally so she can provide them with the best learning experience possible. As a result, she is continuously enrolling in classes, attending professional development opportunities within her district, and performing her own research to stay well-informed of the best teaching practices.
â€œMs. Thomas prepares students so they will succeed,â€ said Thomas Blumer, principal of Woodruff Career and Technical Center. â€œHer belief in the transformative power of education permeates everything that she does in the classroom.â€
Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science in Education at Illinois State University and a Masters of Arts in Education and Teacher Leadership from St. Xavier University.
A former student of Ms. Thomasâ€™ recently graduated from Illinois State University with a bachelorâ€™s degree in special education. She took a moment to describe the impact Ms. Thomasâ€™ teaching had on her education and the way she will teach:
â€œAll throughout my educational journey at ISU to become a teacher, I always looked back to the teachers that have inspired me the most. Kim Thomas is one of them. Her passion for education and for her students fired a passion inside of me. I can only hope that one day when I have a classroom of my own, I can inspire students like Mrs. Thomas.â€
As Illinois Teacher of the Year, Thomas will have an opportunity to share her knowledge and expertise outside the classroom. Beginning in the 2016 spring semester, she will be available to speak at teaching workshops, education conferences, and community meetings. Thomas will represent Illinois at the NASA Space Camp in Hunstville, Ala., and the National Teacher of the Year program sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and ING. She will also receive products from SMARTer Kids.