Juanita and Mikel Thompson
My wife, Juanita, and I have fulfilled our dream of teaching together at King’s Schools near Seattle. In 2009, I hit upon a great way to ignite a student’s passion for learning through robotics. It not only challenges the intellect, but takes kids deeper through team problem-solving and collaboration. And it’s got outstanding fun factor!
But I didn’t start in the classroom: I first enjoyed a 17-year career as a software developer, then returned to Seattle Pacific University to earn my master’s degree in teaching. At King’s I teach a variety of high school math and technology courses and completed a certificate program called “Using Robotics to Enhance STEM Training.” That’s the beauty of robotics; few things integrate an understanding of science, technology, engineering, and math quite as well.
The competitive factor really gets the students revved up. This year my CyberKnights placed among the top four teams at the FIRST Tech Challenge Robotics World Championship in St. Louis.
In 2011, Juanita began using robotics to enhance student learning at the K-6 level. Her students learn critical thinking and presentation skills, fair play, and a real sense of compassion and concern for other people. And eventually they feed my program! Who knew that God would use robotics to inspire and equip young people to stand up as Christians and be respected for their character and technical savvy?
—Mikel Thompson '82, M.A. '07 and Juanita Thompson '83, M.Ed. '10, Washington Federation of Independent Schools Teachers of the Year