Lemus Named 2020 Teacher of the Year for Sioux City Community Schools
Today, when you look at the 2020 Teacher of the Year for the Sioux City Community School District, you see the end result. You see an individual that makes a profound impact on our school community and especially the students he serves. What you may not see is the journey that led him here; the journey that shaped his compassion, perseverance, love for learning, and will to serve the needs of students.
The 2020 Teacher of the Year for the Sioux City Community School District is Luis Lemus, a dual language teacher at Irving Dual Language Elementary. In a dual language school like Irving, where half the day is taught in English and half the day is taught in Spanish, there’s a language learning curve for both native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. Lemus understands this learning curve first-hand. He came to the United States as a young boy fluent in Spanish with limited English speaking abilities. During his early school years, he learned how to think and communicate in English, experience academic success, and flourish socially. Lemus wants to help his students do the same – while embracing the dual language benefits offered at Irving.
One of his nominators, Nichole Zoeller, said “Lemus has the ability to reach students of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities through his well-planned lessons, integration of interactive strategies, movement, scaffolding, and differentiation. He builds relationships with not only the students in his class, but also with students from throughout the whole school.”
In the classroom, students are eager to learn and engage. In the building, colleagues respect him for his work ethic and dedication.
“Each person Mr. Lemus encounters – students, student teachers, staff colleagues, parents – he makes each one feel recognized,” said Superintendent Dr. Paul Gausman. “So, it is my honor to now have the opportunity to recognize Mr. Lemus as the 2020 District Teacher of the Year.”
During his time at Irving, Mr. Lemus has been part of the Building Leadership Team, a member of the #FutureReady group, has trained to be a Certified Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol Trainer, and has presented to education professionals multiple times both locally and nationally. Zoeller reinforced this point by saying, “Luis is a life-long learner and has the ability to share his love of learning with others for the good of promoting a positive, cohesive learning environment for all.”
According to Irving’s principal, Maria Ruelas, Lemus has been winning the hearts of colleagues from day one. “His positive attitude, enthusiasm, and wiliness to step out of his comfort zone have earned him the respect and appreciation of many,” said Ruelas.
Lemus has been with the Sioux City Community School District for seven years. He has a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s degree in teaching, both from Morningside College.