At Kids Unlimited and KU Academy, we love our educators — even more during Teacher Appreciation Week, May 8-12. We also know teachers are passionate about their profession and hold a special place in their hearts for KU students and families. Here’s how they express the joys of their job:

What do you love about teaching?

“I love that I have the ability to help a kid have an amazing day. I love that I am literally changing lives every single day by teaching kids how to read, write and learn math

— Whitney Hanlin, KUA 3rd grade

“There are many things I love about teaching. Some of my favorites are: watching and learning through the kids’ perspectives — they think very differently than adults — watching a new concept finally click; it is so exciting for both of us, knowing each day is going to be different and providing opportunities to all.”

— Murri Smith, KUA 3rd grade

“I love the amount of wonder children have and being able to spend my days playing and creating magical experiences.”

— Sydney Cook, KUA pre-K


What is your favorite part about teaching at KUA?

“The opportunities we are providing to a lot of kids who may never otherwise have those opportunities is so cool. We are blessed to be able to do more for them than most schools are able to do for kids. The focus is just different.”

— David Thygeson, KUA 4th grade

“My favorite part about teaching at KUA has been getting to know the students. It has been so much fun to see their individual personalities surface and grow, and I love the relationships I’ve developed with them.”

— Lauren Maggart Stearns, KUA 7th-8th grade English language arts

“I love and care for these kids as if they were my own. I love to provide opportunities for them, such as having them try sports, taking them to football games or taking them to the gym. I was blessed with teachers, family members, coaches and mentors that invested in me. They always loved and cared for me as if I was their own. It helped shape me into the man I am today. I try to pass on those investments to these kids and plant the seed in them to go be future leaders. I love watching them accomplish their goals and milestones. I firmly believe if you train up children in a way they should go, when they are older, they will not depart from it. I love these kids! I love watching them succeed in everything they do.”

— Lake Masi Tunoa, KUA middle school health and PE

“There are many reasons this is the profession I have chosen for the past 19 years of my life, but the short answer is: I love teaching because I love being a part of developing new ways to get children excited about learning! I strive to be a positive, supportive and loving influence in the lives of all of my students everyday! This profession is what I was called to do!”

— Megan Foster, KUA 4th grade




“Kids Unlimited encourages teachers to do fun, hands-on activities, which is my favorite part of being in the classroom with my students. Kids Unlimited provides me with the opportunity to have a classroom full of exciting experiments and projects.”

— Krystal Van Dyke, KUA 1st grade



“The community and family that has been created at KUA among the staff and our families. I love that I have been here for so many years and am now teaching siblings of students I’ve had over the years. We now have KUA high school students come back, and not only visit, but also work, which I believe is a testament to how wonderful our community is!”

— Alexandria Warnke-Crary aka Ms. WC, KUA kindergarten

What are our teachers doing when they’re not at KUA?

Our teachers love spending time with their families and dogs. They trek into the outdoors for hiking, camping and disc golf.

These educators play and coach sports, especially golf, soccer and football. They watch live entertainment and music; they play fantasy football and video games and attend community events.

These creative types design clothes and shoes; they embroider and paint in watercolors and acrylics. Lovers of food, they bake and barbecue. And of course, they READ.