Award Honorees

Martin Thames

Martin began work in Minnetonka High School in 1959 and taught chemistry for 28 years, introducing new ways of teaching and innovations in learning equipment. "Martin was my MHS Chemistry teacher and a truly outstanding educator and friend. He was interesting, dedicated, and for me represented the best in the teaching profession," said former student, Cornell Anderson.

When Martin began teaching, students sat right at the lab stations in the classroom. Because of this, the equipment at the stations took on a lot of wear and tear. When Minnetonka proposed a new science addition to the school in the early 1960's, Martin suggested the first Self-Contained Peripheral Science Lab in the state, where the students sit in desks and the lab stations are around the outside of the room. This was significant because other schools, in trying to solve the problem of students sitting at lab stations, had created a separate lab room that students would move to on days when they were doing experiments. The new classroom design was well received by school administrators and written up in national publications.

Martin had the first Apple computer at MHS. Computers didn't come with manuals in those days, so he spent many weekends writing programs for use in his classes, having had a brief exposure to computers in college. Soon he had an entire lab of computers for students.

Throughout the years Martin served as president of the Minnetonka Teachers Association, represented Minnetonka on the District 287 School Board, spent two years teaching in the Sudan, was a leader for the Boy Scouts of America and was an active member of Excelsior United Methodist Church. He retired in 1986 and currently lives in Bloomington. He is still active with computers, helping seniors learn how to use them. And as one might guess, today you can find him on Facebook.

Martin received his Bachelor's degree from the University of Oklahoma and graduate degree from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife have four children, Martin, Heidi, Tim and Chaley, all Minnetonka graduates, and all took his class in high school. They have six grandchildren, Michelle, Michael and David Sarne and Robby, Aly and Chaz Thames.


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