Award-winning teachers make change in and out of classroom

Classrooms full of laughter, teaching and eager students line the school’s hallway, with rooms 2160 and 2245 bursting with opportunity and love. Crowned Krop’s Rookie Teacher and Teacher of The Year, Social Studies teacher Jessika Lozada and Science teacher Todd Thompkins spend their days ensuring students’ education and futures.

After graduating from Florida State University, Thompkins began at Krop, teaching honors Physics for all six classes up until 2009, when he taught his first AP Physics class. Thompkins now teaches five AP classes: AP Physics C with Calculus, AP Computer Science A, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Seminar and AP Research. 

Beginning more recently, Lozada began her career at Krop during Covid in 2020 with AP Economics classes. She now teaches three periods of World History/U.S. Government and three periods of Economics.  

Both teachers have brought countless efforts to the school community, with Thompkins’ work focused on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) while Lozada focuses her time on Model UN and other Social Studies activities. 

Since starting in 2002, Thompkins has helped with the implementation of multiple AP classes, starting and teaching AP Computer Science Principles, AP Computer Science A, AP seminar, and AP research. AP Seminar and Research are part of the Capstone Project that Thompkins began at Krop in 2019. He is now a reader for the exams and helps grade them, as well as now mentoring another AP Capstone instructor. 

“Mr. Thompkins is a very organized teacher who knows how to have fun, while getting work done,” senior Eden Nadler said. “He paces work, is considerate, and it shows that he wants his students to do well.”

Besides the work he does in class, Thompkins is a SECME (Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering) and Science Fair coordinator, focused on getting more students involved in STEM activities.

“I really get to know my students and then I can encourage them to participate in STEAM competitions and courses,” Thompkins said. “I end up being their instructor, mentor and counselor helping them as they progress throughout their high school career. Therefore, I am able to affect student outcomes outside of my classroom as I can know my students on a much more meaningful level.”

Loazada began as the Model UN advisor when she started at Krop, now working to implement a new club regarding the subject, called KropLot after gaining approval at last year’s Model UN competition.

Whether it’s lunchtime, class or afterschool, Lozada can always be seen with her students, the relationship she forms shown in her students’ love for her.

“Ms. Lozada is an amazing teacher,” senior Elijah Solange-Pierre said. “She is emotionally supportive of other students and kind hearted. We all wish the best for her and her future.”

With Krop being her first teaching job, Lozada has had to learn the ropes of a school foreign to her, but it has not stopped her from forming close relationships with her students and fellow faculty, who she often assists chaperoning various activities and field trips. 

“If I turn my lessons into conversations, I feel like my students can understand it more, if I use the actual vocabulary it gets lost in translation,” Lozada said. “The relationship that I form afterwards is more open because they have the mindset that ‘this is how she is when she’s teaching, so when it comes to the time when I need to talk to her, it’ll be easier.’”

Thompkins and Lozada continue their teaching career at Krop, with the 2023 school year proving to be successful for both teachers.