New Teacher Spotlights

Welcome to the New Teacher Spotlight! Illini Central would like to introduce new teachers in the district. Today, we are highlighting Miss Thomas!

Miss Thomas is the speech-language pathologist for 2nd grade through 12th grade students. This year is her first year out of graduate school, and this is her first year teaching.

She decided to become a speech-language pathologist in her senior year of high school. Throughout her college experience, she planned to work in a clinic, hospital, or nursing home. Most of the research she focused on were swallowing, aging and cognition, and other areas of her field that were more focused on older adults. She never planned to work with kids and teenagers, until she fell in love with the school setting in her externship in the spring of 2021.

Miss Thomas is motivated by the progress that she sees in her kids. She thrives on watching new concepts click with her students. She always expects the unexpected from her students. Her students inspire daily and they make her laugh.

She decided to work at Illini Central because special education is prioritized. She felt as if some schools put special education on the back burner, but Illini Central makes special education a priority.

Miss Thomas is from Hartsburg, Illinois. She has an older brother named Jonathan Thomas, and he works as a landscaper for Reinhart Grounds Maintenance, Inc. Miss Thomas is very proud of him because he is very creative and hard working. Her mother, Shelley Thomas, is a registered nurse through Memorial in Springfield. Miss Thomas says that her mother has an astounding ability to think analytically that aids her in the medical field. Miss Thomas admires her mother’s kindness and how humble she is. Miss Thomas’s father, Ross Thomas, works as an educator for the federal prison in Pekin. He works hard to develop a one-of-a-kind program. He specifically teaches inmates how to repair circuit boards and other skills that can eventually take out into the workforce. Miss Thomas admires her father’s passion for his interests and his love of learning. She also has a dog named Blaze, a Pitbull-Husky mix, who is always begging for treats. Blaze is seen as the favorite child by Miss Thomas’s parents.

Miss Thomas would love to live in a warm, verdant, and mountainous environment. She also loves the beach. If she could live anywhere, she would maybe live in New Zealand.

Spending time outdoors is one of her favorite things to do; whether it be hiking, kayaking, or just soaking up the sun. She also sings at church and the occasional open-mic night.

One piece of advice that Miss Thomas would give would be: “Think critically, act kindly, and never compromise your principles just because it makes someone else uncomfortable.”

If Miss Thomas was to meet any historical figure, she would like to meet Malala Yousafzai. She admires Malala’s tenacity, bravery, and her passion in the face of evil and inequality. She thinks that it is humbling to think that Malala has accomplished so much.

Illini Central thanks Miss Thomas for her dedication to the students at Illini Central!