Tonee Simmons, a math teacher at the Fifth Grade Center, received the May Excellence in Education Award at the May 8, 2017, Board of Education meeting. Congratulations to Tonee on this prestigious recognition!
Tonee has worked for the Ladue School District since August of 2004, when she took a position as a teaching assistant at Conway for one year. She then spent three years teaching third grade and then another three years teaching fifth grade at Conway before she moved to the Fifth Grade Center, where she has been for the past four years.
For Principal Julie Helm, the first words that come to mind when thinking about Tonee as an educator is “student advocate”. Tonee sees her students not only as learners but as individuals who each need support and care. This shows in her actions. At the beginning of the year, Tonee spends a good portion of her time and energy building relationships with her students. She was one of the staff members who felt that the teachers needed more time with the students, so the schedule was adjusted this year to feature a Homeroom Day.
Not only does she make every student feel important, but Tonee is an excellent teacher. Math might not be every student’s favorite subject, but she makes learning math fun for her students and encourages them to try their hardest. She knows the exact needs of the students in her class, which is essential in helping them grow throughout the year.
Tonee has held the position of Math Lead Teacher since the Fifth Grade Center opened. Her superb organizational skills help with the tasks, and because Tonee is a detail-oriented person, her ability to see the big picture benefits the department, and thereby the school, greatly. “Tonee is a huge asset to me in a leadership position,” Julie said. “She is able to recognize the needs of our school but can also visualize the path for getting there.” For example, this year, Tonee led the math team to make some changes within their practices and instruction to better meet the students’ needs.
Aside from leading the math department, Tonee is also on the district math committee, a member of the PLC Leadership Team, a member of the Character Ed committee and also facilitates the Fifth Grade Center’s after-school help program.
Tonee is originally from Fenton, Missouri. She and her husband, Kris, have been married for 12 years and have three children: 8-year-old Michael, who is in 2nd grade at Spoede Elementary; 5-year-old Alex; and 2-year-old Sam.
Tonee received her undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She then went on to earn her master’s degree from Lindenwood.