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Kim  Spivey Staff Photo

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Kimberley Spivey

I cannot yet place myself in a set formula as to "who I am."  I am constantly reshaping my views through a cycle of reading, reflection, and trusting in God's Plan.  I guess, like Tennyson's "Ulysses,"

I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!

Still, I feel that there is so much yet to come; my journey as a leader has just begun.  There is still so much to be discovered, created, and communicated!  I hate to sit still for fear I will become rusty, and I want everyone I meet to shine.  Some people have referred to me as an "out-of-the-box" thinker, to which I reply, "Why does it have to be a box?" 

                As a small child I was always independent and a bit different from other children my age.  I went to a small school and graduated with, essentially, the exact same people with whom I began Kindergarten.  My parents were low-middle class, and married young:  my mother was 19 ½ when she had me.  They divorced when I was five, and that was actually a blessing.  My younger brother had hearing, speech, and other communication disorders, and he was MY baby.  My mom was not exactly the "nurturing type," so I spent most of my childhood weekends at Granny's house in Graves, Georgia, running barefooted through the corn in summer and riding go-carts and motorcycles until I could legally drive.  I learned to drive a stick-shift as soon as I could see over the steering wheel, and taking the trash to the dumpster became a weekend job my older cousin and I would take turns doing.

                As far as my journey to be a leader has occurred, I guess I have had mixed results here.  In high school, I was President of my Senior class, among various other offices held in Spanish Club, the Y Club, the National Honor Society, and my church youth group.  As a teenager, I conducted remediation in my living room for algebra, geometry, trig and calc.  I helped more classmates write term papers than I care to remember, and I tutored others in Spanish.  I guess you could say I had a flashing neon sign over my head blinking "TEACHER" in bold lettering, but I did not see it, nor did I want to.  It was too mundane a job for ME!

                I didn't really have a knowledge of college except only smart, rich people got to go.  My mom did not go, and my dad, after some junior college was about to go to Georgia when he and my mom married.  He quit school and began working at Proctor & Gamble as low man on the totem pole.  We were far from rich, but we had a full and fun life.  My junior year my grandmother was insistent that I go to college.  I applied to three schools: UGA, Georgia Southern, and Valdosta State.  I was accepted to all three.  Valdosta, however, wanted to pay a portion of my tuition to attend.  I was headed South. 

                The night of my high school graduation, I packed my car before going to commencement.  The next day, I drove to Valdosta State College to begin the summer quarter of school to "get ahead" of the fall crowd.  Really, I was ready to get OUT of town and test my wings of freedom.  That summer, VSC was under major construction, and my English class was held in a partitioned former grocery store.  Some of the students were having difficulty, so I offered to help them at my "spot" in the library.  Soon, my library group grew and upper classmen would ask me for help on their papers.  They thought I worked in the library!  Still, I was not in education classes-I was going to be a doctor and make lots of thing I was certain of, I was NOT going to be dependent on a man to take care of me.  I had learned from my mother that the only way to survive was to be a survivor.

                As it goes with the best laid plans, my plans were not God's plans.  I changed majors several times.  I couldn't find a "fit" in a niche I really could see myself.  VSC became VSU, and then we went from quarters to semesters.   I was walking across campus on my 19th birthday and a big slap of reality grounded me.  I realized that my mother was pregnant with me at my age.  She didn't get to go to college.  She stayed at home to rear me and my brother and had no job skills, no self confidence, no husband, and no money.  I owed it to her to figure out what to do with my life and be an independent woman.  So I made a decision-I was going to change my major for good.  Public Relations, seemed to be a good fit for me.

                During a marketing work-study semester at a credit union in Waycross (to which I drove there and back daily-facing the sun both ways), I decided two things:  I wanted to live in Atlanta, and that I never wanted to drive to Waycross, Georgia again.  Well, God got me again.  My last week of work I met the man who eventually would become my husband.  God called me to change my major to education; I graduated and started teaching high school English and Biology.   I had 4 preps on a 6-period day, and one of those periods was planning!  I was in the dungeon with no other teachers around me for help, advice, or a safety net.  I hated it!  What happened to the fun I had tutoring those in high school and college?  I almost quit that year.   Then, my school hired a new media specialist who set up computer labs.  I felt more comfortable instructing my students with technology and resources at my fingertips; plus, I had company-my good old friends-books!

                Through my teaching career, I have held a few different positions in a few different schools.  I have had personal and professional ups and downs.  I have experienced the pains of marriage, the joys of motherhood and stay-at-home parenting, and the frustration of being dependent again.  I have had a "dream job" teaching a pull-out gifted class.  Yet, I never felt like I found my professional calling until this year.  I can say to everyone now, "I LOVE my job!"  I became the Media Specialist at Midway Elementary, and I am thrilled to see how I can lead these students and teachers to greater use of technology, more choices in literature, and better dissemination of information.  I get to teach all the students, not just one class, and I empower them with reading, research, and technology skills for life.  How great is that?!

                I am blessed with a passion for learning and a need to share that information to willing learners.  I'm still discovering the me I'm supposed to be, according to the Divine Plan instead of Kim's Plan.  I don't know where I'm heading in this journey of life, but I feel like I am just now testing those wings I set out for college in 1992 to try out, and I have God's promise that I will be rewarded for my loyalty.  I'm not sure what exactly I will see in the future of education with this vanguard of technological growth, but it will open global communication and domains that we are just beginning to fathom.  Students will have the opportunities to create their niches in the job market, because those jobs are waiting to be created by OUR students now.  It is our mission to challenge and empower those students with the skills to see beyond the accepted cookie-cutter norms and think differently about their roles in the future.  We have to get out of the box of our comfort zones and trust our ability to create.  So I ask you, "Why does it have to be a box?"