Educator of the week

Robert Lohuis 
Smitha Middle School

Cobb County School District

A New Jersey native, Mr. Robert Lohuis was raised in a loving home that revolved around strong faith and enjoyable family activities. With 6 younger siblings, Mr. Lohuis was motivated to lead by example and succeeded academically, in sports, orchestra and even in chorus. Often times he would find himself appreciating the vast opportunities his parents exposed him to while acknowledging the diverse nature of our world. When preparing to select a university, Mr. Lohuis was most interested in the New York City structures and framework of architecture that it presented. He attended the School of Architecture at New Jersey Institute of Technology where he graduated with honors from a rigorous 5-year accredited program. Mr. Lohuis actively practiced in his field of residential and commercial architecture for approximately 6 years, went back to school to receive his Master of Arts in Mathematics Education and discovered that he wanted to apply his practical experience to how students studied Mathematics. He states, “I wanted to bring real-world application and contextual situations to students and engage them in the natural struggle of exploration, investigation and innovation.”

Mr. Lohuis has been stimulating the minds of young students as an educator for 6 years, both in a High School and Middle School level. His journey began while teaching architecture as part of a new CTAE program for all grade students in a remedial high school. He accepted the challenge of becoming an educator within the Title 1 schools, where opportunities are limited for students, because he strongly believes that every student possesses the potential and ability to excel and succeed academically. His fondest memories of teaching are of interacting with the students while overcoming the challenges of teaching math and architecture in a way that they will understand and respect. Today, he continues to inspire students at Smitha Middle School, located just outside of Atlanta, GA. He expresses, “Some of my favorite experiences have been connecting with students and helping students achieve amazing testing gains, more importantly, building those relationships to enable students to appreciate and struggle through the process of learning math within the context of their environment and world around them.”

Mr. Lohuis has humbly accepted the teacher of the month award from his students and is also the proud teacher leader in his district, where he is responsible for engaging and inspiring all educators to participate in progressive grading, technological and instructional techniques as well as practices based on continuous professional learning opportunities and research.

Devoted to teaching from the perspective of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Mr. Lohuis exposes his students to STEM both inside and outside the classroom. His favorite subjects to teach are coordinate algebra and analytic geometry because of the immense connection to real-world, tangible applications. In the classroom, he gives plenty of examples to students so they may experience a positive shift while learning math and he establishes the reality of potential career opportunities that they can pursue such as architecture and engineering. Outside the classroom, he is proud to work with Great Minds in STEM™ and Lockheed Martin in engaging students of Smitha Middle School to participate in the Viva Technology™ Program where students are exposed to Lockheed professionals and problem solve though various STEM challenges. Mr. Lohuis and his fellow colleagues already lead students to be innovators and problem solvers and the Viva Technology™ is a strong addition in exemplifying STEM practices to the students.

As a continuous learner, Mr. Lohuis sets noteworthy goals for himself as an educator and for his students. He is interested in engaging students and teachers in the STEM process while integrating the philosophy of teaching into the existing accomplishments of Smitha Middle School. His long terms goals as an educator are to work at a district/regional/state level to lead professional development in curriculum, instructional practices, technology and assessment.

In his spare time, Mr. Lohuis loves to participate in all out-door activities like running, hiking, biking and canoeing while inviting his dogs along for the ride. He also enjoys watching thought-provoking films and television shows. He considers cooking a therapeutic outlet and finds happiness when his family and friends come over to enjoy a good meal.

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