Home Grown Teachers
Tricia (Egan) Thorkildsen
Sixth Grade Science Teacher Lake Stevens Middle School
“I kind of feel like I won the teaching lotto this year,” exclaims Tricia (Egan) Thorkildsen as she describes her love for teaching sixth grade science at Lake Stevens Middle School. Thorkildsen has around 130 students between all of her classes and described how she is thankful for the opportunity she has to get to know all of them.
Thorkildsen moved to Lake Stevens with her family when she was in third grade because her dad accepted the position of vice principal of Lake Stevens High School. She attended Mt. Pilchuck Elementary, North Lake Middle School and Lake Stevens High School where she graduated in 1987.
Although she always felt that she would be a teacher, Thorkildsen wanted to try something different than what her parents did. After graduating, Thorkildsen attended Washington State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management. She ran Boise State University’s food service for seven years before realizing that she wanted to teach. Thorkildsen then received her master’s degree in education from City University.
Thorkildsen is in her eighth year teaching in the Lake Stevens School District and couldn’t be happier. “I love to come to work every day,” expressed Thorkildsen. This is her first year teaching at Lake Stevens Middle School and before that she taught fourth and fifth grade at Hillcrest, Glenwood, and Mt. Pilchuck Elementary.
Tammy (Olsen) Monson
Sixth Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
North Lake Middle School
From Sunnycrest to Mt. Pilchuck, to Glenwood, to North Lake, Mrs. Monson has taught all over the Lake Stevens School District. She began her career as a long-term substitute at Sunnycrest Elementary 22 years ago and her passion for teaching continues as she teaches sixth grade language arts and social studies at North Lake Middle School.
Tammy (Olsen) Monson attended Lake Schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. When asked if she had any favorite teachers during school, she responded by explaining that her fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Frost, was one of her favorites because she made a huge effort to engage the students.
During school, Monson had a passion for sports and knew she wanted to do something in that field of study. She graduated from Lake Stevens High School in 1985 and attended the University of Washington where she planned to get her degree in sports medicine. She switched paths when she transferred to Pacific Lutheran University and decided to pursue a degree in physical education instead.
Monson received her bachelor’s degree in education with endorsements in physical education, elementary education, and special education. After she received her bachelor’s, Monson went on to receive her master’s degree in literacy from Lesley University.
This year is Monson’s ninth year teaching at North Lake Middle School. In her classroom, Monson loves being able to interact with her students and have fun while learning. She also explained that a big topic this year is respecting others’ differences. “I want to build a sense of worth in kids so they feel strong,” explained Monson.
When asked what she likes best about teaching in the Lake Stevens School District, Monson expressed that she likes the small community feel and the support, “The community is really supportive of schools and education and that is a big bonus. It makes teaching all the more valuable.”
Lisa (Strange) Lentz
Sixth Grade Language Arts and Social Studies Teacher
Lake Stevens Middle School
It was always Lisa (Strange) Lentz’s goal to come back to teach in Lake Stevens. So when she was offered a job in the L.S. School District she accepted it with joy. “I wanted to be able to give back to the community and inspire kids,” expressed Lentz.
Lentz moved to Lake Stevens when she was in fourth grade and explained that her teacher, Ms. Super at Hillcrest Elementary, was her inspiration to become an educator and her favorite teacher. Lentz described Ms. Super as always being positive and remembered how she brought out a side of her students that they didn’t know was there. Another teacher that influenced Lentz to become an educator was Mr. Wygel at LSMS because he encouraged her to do things she never thought she could.
After graduating from LSHS in 1995, Lentz attended Seattle Pacific University where she received her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences and her teaching certificate. She then went on to receive her master’s degree in literacy instruction, curriculum and assessment from Lesley University.
This year marks Lentz’s 13th year working in the Lake Stevens School District. She currently teaches sixth grade language arts and social studies at Lake Stevens Middle School. In her classroom she tries to extend a love and passion for learning that goes beyond the classroom. “These kids will be our future leaders so it’s important to inspire and foster their dreams,” Lentz explained.
Shannon (Mathews) Kittle
Math Resource Room Teacher Lake Stevens Middle School
After being a volunteer at the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization, Shannon (Mathews) Kittle knew she wanted to work with kids. But it wasn’t until an opportunity at the University of Washington arose that she knew that working with kids was her calling.
Kittle moved to L.S. when she was in fifth grade and attended Sunnycrest Elementary, she then went to NLMS and then to LSHS where she graduated in 1998. Kittle received her bachelor’s degree in social science from the University of Washington.
During her time at the UW, Kittle participated in a program called the Pipe Line Project, which allowed students to work in classrooms in the Seattle School District for college credit. While working in the schools, she worked in many classes with children with special needs and knew that was what she wanted to teach. Kittle then received her master’s degree in special education from City University.
Kittle began teaching Resource Room math at LSMS four years ago and absolutely loves her position. When asked what her favorite thing about teaching was, she simply responded, “The kids.” She explained that as the resource room teacher she gets to see her kids through sixth and seventh grade and she loves the opportunity to make a strong connection with them and see them grow. “Building that relationship with them from when they come in so shy as a sixth grader and then when they are a seventh grader, ready to get out of here, it is so exciting to see that big of a change in two years,” Kittle shared.