Outstanding Educator 2020, Lake Washington High School
Justin Hopkins, AVID teacher
Lake Washington High School
Christina Thomas, principal
Justin Hopkins is called one of the most compassionate and empathetic teachers at Lake Washington High School.  “His ability to connect with students on their level allows him to build meaningful relationships that last beyond the high school experience,” says Principal Christina Thomas.  She explains how Justin’s impact is broader than just teaching English or AVID, “He models for his students what it looks like to hold true to one's core values: family, honesty, and integrity.  Justin is willing to go above and beyond for his students.  He is also one of the class advisors for Lake Washington’s senior class, which is a difficult task these days.”
Justin extends the same compassion toward his colleagues, and he is always willing to confront difficult situations head on, utilizing transparency and honesty in ways that seek to understand and remedy. In situations like these when Justin has challenged preconceived notions, people walk away feeling valued and enlightened by his perspective.  One of Justin’s colleagues reports that, “He is masterful at making kids feel safe, important, and respected.  By establishing these positive relationships with his students, he in turn builds really strong community within each of his classes.  This rapport he builds means that students feel empowered to take ownership not only of their own learning but also that of their peers.”
Justin serves as Lake Washington High School’s AVID teacher and AVID Site Coordinator.  AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a structured college preparatory system that provides direct support for first-generation college-goers.  Ms. Thomas wants Rotarians to know Lake Washington High School is fortunate to have an educator of Justin’s caliber on our staff.  “He is truly deserving of this award,” she says.