Tahoe-Truckee Teacher of the Year: Tom LeFevers is seventh finalist | SierraSun.com

Tahoe-Truckee Teacher of the Year: Tom LeFevers is seventh finalist

Katie Fagundes
Special to the Bonanza
Adults from left: Michael Gelbman, Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza publisher; Tom LeFevers, Teacher of the Year nominee; Joanna Mitchell, North Tahoe High School principal; and Charlie Riley, Truckee Hometown Sears Store owner, with LeFevers' class.
Courtesy photo |

About the award

Now in its fourth year, the Truckee Hometown-SEARS/Sierra Sun Teacher of the Year program was created in 2011 to recognize the efforts of community teachers across Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline Village.

If you know a teacher who is making a lasting impact on students’ lives who you would like to thank, please nominate them for this year’s Teacher of the Year. Nominations can be emailed to: truckeetahoteacheroftheyear@gmail.com or dropped off at Truckee Hometown SEARS.

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — North Tahoe High School teacher Tom LeFevers has been selected as the seventh Teacher of the Year finalist.

LeFevers was recognized for his work supporting students in and outside of the classroom.

Michael Gelbman, publisher of the Sierra Sun/North Lake Tahoe Bonanza, and Charlie Riley, owner of Truckee Hometown Sears, presented LeFevers with a certificates and award on April 29.

North Tahoe High School Principal Joanna Mitchell described LeFevers as a teacher who provides both academic and social support for his students.

“I want them to learn from each other, from me, from everywhere.”Tom LeFevers

“Mr. LeFevers is an advocate for students on all levels,” wrote Principal Mitchell. “He is a trusted confidant for many and provides students with a safe, comfortable place to be in their free time on campus.”

Tom LeFevers, originally from Arizona, grew up in southern California. He attended Chaffey Community College, transferred to California State University San Bernardino and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English.

After completing his student teaching at Upland Jr. High and Upland High School, his alma mater, and earning his teaching credential, LeFevers went on to teach at Montclair High School.

With the desire to escape smog, pollution and traffic, LeFevers moved to Tahoe to raise his family in a more rural area.

He worked part time as a library aide and ESL teacher at both North Tahoe High School and North Tahoe Intermediate School.

In 1995, LeFevers began working full time as a middle school teacher. In 2002, a position at North Tahoe High School became available and he has worked there as an ELD teacher, English 9 teacher and as the ELD Coordinator for the past 13 years.

“It was time for a change,” said LeFevers, describing his move to the high school teaching position. “I always wanted to teach high school, I just had to reinvent for the clientele.”

LeFevers says his ELD training has helped him the past four years as he has taught English 9. The same techniques he has used to support English Language Learners, have helped him engage his English 9 students.

LeFevers enjoys teaching his ninth graders Romeo and Juliet, Greek Mythology, and Of Mice and Men. LeFevers enjoys teaching using project-based activities that allow creativity and collaborative learning.

Students complete a “Hero’s Journey assignment where they write about their own accomplishments, and they have made videos interviewing mythological figures.

“I want them to learn from each other, from me, from everywhere,” said LeFevers.

His students provide him with the inspiration to work hard at his job each day.

“The students motivate me the most,” said LeFevers. “Interacting with the students and making a difference in their lives.”

One parent nominator described the difference LeFevers made in her daughter’s life.

“He instilled in her a passion for reading, something I and her other teachers were not able to do, and encouraged her creative writing,” wrote one parent nominator. “He was able to help her look at her other classmates with empathy and understanding.”

Principal Mitchell described the many duties LeFevers balances while also being an advocate for his students.

“As the English Learner Coordinator, he manages the scheduling of all English Learners, monitors the progress of current and past English Learners, and provides professional development for all staff regarding the support and academic modifications to help English Learners succeed,” wrote Mitchell. “Through his expert teaching and tireless monitoring and support, a record number of long-term English Learners were eligible for re-designation this year.”

LeFevers strives each year to empower his students with the knowledge that they can accomplish their goals.

“I want them to know they can be successful in whatever they do,” said LeFevers. “They are in control, in charge of their minds and can accomplish anything they want to no matter whatever it is.”

LeFevers shares that even though his students don’t always show it, he feels like they want to learn.

“It is up to me to make it engaging,” said LeFevers. “I work hard at it every day.”

LeFevers’ efforts have not gone unnoticed.

“He is invested in North Tahoe High School and the area and is a champion of education and students,” wrote one parent nominator. “I enthusiastically nominate Tom LeFevers!”