Teacher Wins Region 7 Teacher of the Year

Andrew Velarde and Christian Wynne

Andrew Velarde and Christian Wynne

She welcomes her students with a warm smile as she signs “Good Morning” in American Sign Language (ASL) . The bell rings and class begins. Shortly after, there is a calm knock on the door. ASL teacher Amy Thompson opens it, and to her surprise, multiple staff members are waiting to be welcomed in. 

Thompson was named Region 7’s Teacher of the Year on August 3 after being nominated by LHS faculty and staff at the district level. She was awarded $1,250 along with a teacher of the year plaque.

We get together with administrators and staff in the building and nominated individuals for different teacher awards.  We then took some of those names, looked through to see who would be a best fit for each different nomination, ” Principal Jeremy Chilek said. “In Mrs.Thompson’s case, [it’s] her story and ability to start this program that we haven’t had for the last few years, sign language.” 

Thompson started as a fourth grade English teacher. Through the years she has taught grades ranging from pre-school up to college, and last year she started an ASL program to promote deaf awareness and culture.

“My inspiration for teaching was my own children,” Thompson said. “Getting to watch them grow up. I began homeschooling them, and the love of teaching grew from there.”

Thompson was first named as Lindale’s Secondary Teacher of the Year at the district level.  She then advanced to the region level where she answered questions, got interviewed by a regional level committee, and did extra paperwork.

“I loved how energetic she was and always worked one on one with a student if they were falling behind or needed extra help,” junior Gabby Johnson said. “Also with most lessons she would have a game or fun activity to really help you remember what she taught.”

ASL was crowded with entry requests to the point that many people could not get into her class. Thompson’s class, despite being only one year old, is one of the most popular classes and students are excited to be able to learn ASL.

“Mrs. Thompson’s class was my favorite part of the day,” junior Gracie Fox said. “She always made sure to have something fun planned while also making sure we are learning. I loved how involved she was with each individual student and making sure to have a bond with each and every one.”