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Karen J. Lukens

Karen J. Lukens (SD '02)

Reading Specialist

Lowell Elementary
Sioux Falls, SD

Grade(s): K, 1, 2, 3

At the time of the Award, Karen J. Lukens was:

Hawthorne Elementary School
Sioux Falls, SD

Subject(s) taught: General Elementary
Grade(s): 2

Biographical Information

Now Reading Specialist at Lowell Elemntary, Karen Lukens was at Hawthorne Elementary School and at Terry Redlin Elementary in Sioux Falls teaching a diverse group of learners, including those from different cultures and those with learning disabilities or limited English skills. She co-created a reading mentor program that brings 300 members of the community to the school each week to eat lunch with students and listen to them read. As a result of such programs, her students consistently score higher than their peers in standardized tests at both the building and district levels. Lukens is her building's literacy trainer and a member of the Sioux Falls School District Language Arts Committee. She was instrumental in the district's decision to move from a traditional reading approach to balanced literacy. In 2004, Lukens was awarded the American Star of Teaching award by the U.S. Department of Education, whose representative noted that Lukens' students had repeatedly doubled their performance scores. Along with other Milken Educators and Teachers of the Year, she assisted in planning and facilitating the Governor's New Teacher Academy for first-year teachers in South Dakota. She is currently teaching adjunct at the University of Sioux Falls in the Education Department for both the Undergarduate and Graduate programs.

Personal Message

I am still having fun -- beginning my 35th year of teaching!

Related Connections

Article: Growing Our Own Teachers in South Dakota

Additional Information


1980 Augustana College, B.A. University of Sioux Falls, M.ED.

Currently adjunct at the University of Sioux Falls Masters in Reading and Undergraduate in Education Department