2023 Winner

LaShawn Thomas

East Technical High School

9–12th Grade Grade Career Tech

“LaShawn fosters a culture of respect and acceptance where every student feels valued and appreciated for their unique abilities, backgrounds, and perspectives. ... Her students create, design, build, and redesign structures and robots and leave her class with a thousand times more confidence.”

LaShawn Thomas is a dedicated educator with over two decades of experience. She has been a steadfast pillar of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for more than 20 years.  With a solid educational background, she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Kent State University, followed by a master’s degree in education from Baldwin Wallace University.  During her initial 12 years of teaching with CMSD, she made a significant impact by nurturing students’ love for mathematics and academic excellence.

LaShawn transitioned into teaching through  the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) engineering curriculum and earned recognition as a PLTW national certified instructor.  She wholeheartedly embraced this opportunity to impart STEM education to students.  Her courses—engineering design, engineering principles, digital electronics, architecture design, and robotics—reflect her passion for STEM subjects.  LaShawn employs a project-based learning approach, seamlessly integrating her school’s New Tech model and cultivating a sense of relevance, authenticity, and enthusiasm for STEM fields among her students.

Beyond the classroom, LaShawn takes on the role of coach and lead mentor of East Tech’s FIRST Robotics program.  In this capacity, students gain a wealth of technical and non-technical skills spanning programming, engineering, marketing, and business management.  Her most outstanding professional achievement lies in inspiring students and nurturing the belief that they can pursue successful STEM-related careers.  LaShawn’s dedication to education continues to shape the future generation of STEM professionals, leaving an enduring legacy of excellence and aspiration.

Contact Ms. Thomas