Renee Griffith/City Editor

Kristin Thomas is the advanced math teacher for second-grade through fifth-grade students at Ocotillo Ridge Elementary. She is a military wife and was a stay-at-home mom until her youngest child started first grade. Now she is in her ninth year of teaching at Ocotillo Ridge.

“My mom and grandma were teachers, and I had always known I wanted to be a teacher,” Thomas says. She has been teaching ad- vanced math for four years now and says, “I really enjoy it.” 

Thomas loves teaching math and started a math club at the school, but when she was in school her favorite subjects were actually reading and English, she recalls. Some of her math club members recently competed in a Math League state competition. Three students qualified to go to the national championship this summer!

“Her passion for teaching is contagious. Many parents including myself volunteer in her classroom and the various school programs that she coordinates,” writes Marilyn Barrett.

“She brilliantly and effectively balances the high standards she sets for the students while remaining

a loving, enthusiastic and caring educator,” Barrett writes. Barrett lauds Thomas for her ability to motivate students. “In fact, my third-grade daughter approached math with some trepidation. Now, she wants to join 

Thomas stays on the move—in addition to math club, she is the yearbook adviser and runs the school’s Girls On he Run program and a Milers Club. Away from school, she enjoys running 5K and 10K races and half marathons.

“I think because I love running, that’s why I brought that into school,” Thomas says, adding that “exercise is a great outlet for stress.”

Math can be found everywhere in life, she reminds students. It can sometimes be frustrating, but when they get frustrated she asks them to consider math a fun puzzle to solve, to be curious and to persevere.

“I truly believe that her positive encouragement of her students both in and out of the classroom inspires them to love learning and to achieve high goals,” writes Barrett. 

Teacher Fun Facts:

Hobbies: Hiking, running, traveling

Favorite Subject in School: Reading & English

Under the Sea: Thomas enjoys scuba diving. She learned to dive in a Texas pool then a “murky pond with catfish nibbling me,” she says. She has dived in Fiji and Hawaii, and though she says she is bad at it (she has trouble with buoyancy) she keeps trying. 

Edition: 
Tucson
Issue: 
May 2017