Kim Thomas

Named the 2016 Illinois Teacher of the Year, Kim Thomas believes that mathematics is the road to educational salvation. Her trust in the transformative power of education permeates everything she does in her classroom. Kim has proven over and over again that every student has the capacity to understand math at a depth that they never thought possible. The success of her Mathlicious program led to her being named Teacher of the Year by the Illinois State Board of Education. She subsequently was invited to the White House where she met President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and Secretary of Education John King Jr. and participated in a panel discussion about the challenges of education in the 21st Century.

Kim earned her bachelor’s in elementary education from Illinois State University and a master’s in education and teacher leadership from Saint Xavier University. Kim has dedicated her 23-year teaching career to middle school students in Peoria Public Schools. Kim also taught at Woodruff Career and Technical Center, which houses the Peoria County alternative school for those who have been expelled and a contemporary learning program for those who are administratively placed. Kim helped turn these challenging students around academically and socially.

Kim is on the committee for the Illinois State Board of Education Partnership for Educator Preparation. She will be inducted into the 2016 Illinois State University College of Education Hall of Fame. Kim has received the 2015 Outstanding Teacher of the Year for Peoria Public Schools, the 2008 Friend of Special Education, and the 1996 Creative Teacher of the Year award. She joins just two percent of the nation’s teachers as a multiple-year honoree named in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers.


The teaching process is filled with diverse angles. Some are acute while others are obtuse. The degree of each angle is irrelevant. It is the approach we take that makes us who we are as teachers. I have been teaching for 5 x 4 + 3 years, and we are in the most challenging era to be an educator. Whether it be evaluations, test scores, or policies, the one constant in education is the love and dedication we have for kids! The needs of our kids is the common factor of each classroom. It’s time to rotate negative parabolas into positive ones! Our kids deserve a mathtastic time in school….and so do you!!

Live + Laugh + Love = Learn…

Be a trendsetter, and create your own history! Live your priceless calling as an educator day 1² through day 10² + 80. Learn techniques to ensure the fun in your classroom is contagious. Everyone loses track of time when they are laughing. Kids are less likely to misbehave when they enjoy learning. Light up your passion. Overpower each student with the belief they need. Verify you trust and students will trust you. Embrace differences and celebrate similarities. Your students will learn at a depth they never thought possible.

Learning Outcomes:

  • how to interweave building relationships through any curriculum
  • apply positive learning experiences that keep kids engaged 
  • have the time spent in your classroom one of the best fractions of a student’s day 
  • develop classroom mathagement or management techniques so behaviors do not impede but rather support the learning process
  • understand weekly lessons are a guide and daily reflections equal student success


Rotate the “M” in ME 180° to Equal WE

We need to help each other remember why we became teachers. There will always be haters. Mathovate each other every day. Take time to celebrate the joy of teaching with one another and make each other laugh. Collaborate and share ideas that will help each other grow. Administrators be the cheerleader and supporter for your teachers. Create parent relationships that transform students’ lives. TWOgether you can guarantee passion and excitement for teaching will be infectious at your school.

Learning Outcomes:

  • understand the importance of daily laughter and encouragement
  • recognize positive relationships are the prime factor in an effective teaching environment
  • how putting kids needs first creates a happy staff
  • ask “how would I want my student to react?”
  • change “what is wrong?” to “how can I make you happy?”
  • be provided with helpful hints with parental involvemet


Math Muscles!! Strengthen or Stretch!!

Warning: Implementing the ideas in this workshop will cause students to live, laugh, love, and LEARN math! Some students believe that math stands for Makes All Things Horrible. The true meaning is Makes All Things Happy or Happen or Hip!! This workshop is filled with mathlicious activities, projects, games, and journaling that can be applied into the curriculum throughout the entire year. “What was the worst part about math class?” This was a journal entry. I had several students actually put LEAVING. What a mathtastic feeling! Be ready to have an amathazing time learning Camathoflage, Matholiday, Bingrapho, MathO’Lanterns…too many to list!

Learning Outcomes:

  • how to personalize math lessons to students 
  • learn a wide variety of math projects 
  • be able to implement a fun activity every day 
  • understand fun techniques when dealing with homework