Fifth grade teacher Cody Lutes has been named the Lennox School District 2019-20 Teacher of the Year.
Lutes, who is in his sixth year teaching fifth grade in Lennox, graduated from the University of Sioux Falls with his teaching degree and did his student teaching at Patrick Henry Middle School in Sioux Falls before beginning his teaching career in Lennox. Lutes also has a master’s in educational administration from the University of South Dakota.
Growing up in a family of teachers in Colorado, Lutes was not sure he wanted to go into teaching, even after visiting his sister’s class. It was not until he was a sophomore in college that he made the decision to pursue teaching.
“My sophomore year of college I was still kind of undecided and I went and did a few observations and pretty much knew by then. I think I kind of always knew, but didn’t accept it,” Lutes said.
After doing his student teaching in ancient history with sixth-graders at Patrick Henry, Lutes knew students between fifth and eighth grade were the ones he wanted to teach. He realized he could never teach kindergarten or seniors but thought middle school was the right fit for him.
He likes that fifth-graders are still kids, but they are also getting old enough to understand some jokes.
“You can still joke with them and they understand a little bit of sarcasm and ironic situations. I like that they are still wanting to come to school,” Lutes said. “They’re excited to learn. They’re excited to be here every day so that makes us want to be here. I think that’s what really drew me to this age group.”
When Lutes started teaching fifth grade, they were still part of the elementary so he spent two years teaching all subjects. Then fifth and sixth grade moved into the intermediate building and Lutes has been teaching math and science since then.
Last year Lutes started teaching Project Lead the Way in his science classes. The hands-on curriculum allows students to learn science in a new way. He also helps his students prepare for the annual science fair.
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