2005 Kansas
Master Teachers

Ken Garwick

Sixth Grade Teacher
USD 383 Manhattan

Sandy Hardesty

Social Studies Instructor
USD 437 Auburn-Washburn

Connie S. Neneman

First and Second Grade Teacher
USD 443 Dodge City

Kathryn L. Reschke

K-6 School Counselor
USD 233 Olathe

Kimberly Thomas

Fifth Grade
USD 259 Wichita

Mary Van Dyke

K-8 District Facilitator for Gifted and Talented
USD 409 Atchison

Larry Wayland

Visual Art Teacher
USD 229 Blue Valley

Kansas Master Teacher Award

Kimberly Thomas

Kimberly Thomas

2005 Kansas Master Teacher

Fifth Grade

McLean Science & Technology Elementary Magnet School

USD 259 Wichita

visit all 2005 winners


Teaching Philosophy

Students in Mrs. Kimberly Thomas' fifth grade class learn through actively engaging in hand-on activities. "Students learn best when they are actively engaged and involved in their own learning. I incorporate higher-level thinking and inquiry skills into the projects in order to stretch each student's thinking process."

Mrs. Thomas believes it is important to encourage her students early in their lives to volunteer in the community. She actively engages her elementary students through her own volunteer service. She is an active member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the DUI Victim Center of Kansas, the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas, and the American Red Cross.

In her classroom, Mrs. Thomas encourages her students to develop unique talents and explore their individual learning interests and needs. "My greatest accomplishments in my classroom have been laying the foundations for building self-esteem and character in my students and for helping them to discover the joy of learning through independent problem solving."

Honors and Awards

Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching State Finalist 2004

Values in Action National Educator of the Year 2004

Kansas Teacher of the Year Region IV Elementary of the Year 2004

Wichita USD 259 Elementary Teacher of the Year 2003

Wichita USD 259 Distinguished Intermediate Classroom Teacher Award 2003

Golden Apple Teacher Award Nominee 1996


What People Say

"Mrs. Thomas has developed the skills needed to maintain the highest standards of professional excellence. She effectively develops individual, departmental and organizational goals to attain objectives..she is the kind of teacher who inspires the cooperation and confidence of others through relationship building," said her colleague Norman Conard.

A current student said, "Mrs. Thomas works really hard teaching us and preparing us for middle school. She takes extra time to be sure we all understand the assignments. I can tell she loves teaching. These are the reasons why Mrs. Thomas is the best teacher ever. I love coming to school everyday. I am so glad that I get to be in her class."

"Kim teaches and learns from her peers..is active in professional organizations as well as involved in Leadership Activities in Staff Development and Training of Future Teachers. Kim is an outstanding educator and her background and vision for education would make her an outstanding candidate for the Master Teacher Award," writes Wichita school superintendent Winston C. Brooks.