Teacher feature – coming full circle
By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Maria Luckmann
Maria Luckmann’s teaching career was somewhat accidental. She thought about teaching while at the University of Kansas but changed her mind. As an undergraduate student, she switched her major a couple of times, first declaring interior design, then moving to elementary education. Neither was a good fit for her, and she finished her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. After moving to Colorado 20 years ago, she took an assistant position at Overland High School. For Luckmann, it was a revelatory experience. “I finally figured out I loved working with teenagers!” Luckmann said of that job.
Furthering her own education, Luckmann earned a master’s degree in education from the University of Colorado, then found her happy place in Douglas County. Luckmann teaches family and consumer sciences (FACS) at Mountain Vista High School (MVHS) in Highlands Ranch.
FACS used to be called home economics, but today it’s more than just sewing and baking. Luckmann teaches classes in interior design, child development and catering. Luckmann’s personal hobbies mirror many of the topics she teaches. In her time off, she enjoys traveling with her husband and son, all things DIY, and trying new restaurants. “I have always taught FACS. It combines all the things I love – design, hospitality and relationships into one, fun area. I love all things housed in our department – food, entertaining and design,” she said. The FACS classes are “hands on and peak students’ interests” which make them enjoyable for her to teach, she explained.
Luckmann has been teaching at MVHS for 17 years. Before coming to DCSD, Luckmann worked at Overland High School in Aurora and Green Mountain High School in Lakewood. The relationships Luckmann has built with students over the years is her favorite aspect of being an educator. She has seen an uptick in mental health challenges in students since the pandemic began, and it’s been the most challenging aspect of her job recently.
Luckmann has a fondness for Castle Pines. “I’m from Kansas originally and came to Colorado every summer when I was growing up to visit my grandparents who came for the summer. I always knew I wanted to live here, and now I do,” she said.
The Luckmanns moved to Castle Pines six years ago. She has always loved the area and it’s close to her work, so it made sense to settle here. The Luckmanns take advantage of what makes Colorado special. When describing what she loves best about living here, she says, “I love all the trails and being outdoors.”