We would like to congratulate Ms. Kim Barnes for receiving the Kentucky Association for Gifted Education (KAGE) Service and Advocacy Award.The purpose of this award is to provide recognition of exceptional service and/or advocacy in support of educating Kentucky’s gifted and talented children and youth.She accepted the award during the KAGE Annual Conference held last month.
Ms. Barnes has been instrumental in creating the MC2 Academy, a STEM program in Montgomery County for middle and high school students. Within the Academy, students are taught by a team of teachers who provide continuity from year to year. Ms. Barnes is a critically important member of that team. She has been one of the principal architects in structuring the Academy and in soliciting support for the program from administrators and the School Board.
In Kim’s classroom, students read a wide range of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. During the months leading up to the 2016 election her students compared and contrasted political speeches and debates, providing them with a framework to consider current events. Thanks to her teaching style, which encourages questions and independent analysis, students are learning to be critical thinkers: a skill that will serve them well regardless of the career they choose. Kim excels in making connections with her students. She takes the time to learn about their interests and their anxieties.
She often provides students with educational experiences that go beyond traditional ideas about Language Arts curriculum. For example, she recently arranged for a marine biologist to visit MC2 students. The lesson made clear that good writing and speaking skills are important, even in scientific endeavors. Quite simply, Kim is as invested in helping her students make a good life enriched by arts and civic service as she is in helping them make a good living.
Kim’s proudest moments as a teacher are when she sees one of her former students become successful after graduation. She said, “I’m so proud of my students who have found their niche in life and are happy doing what they love. At the moment, I’m watching as a former student is blossoming into a famous writer.As a student, she was so unsure of herself. I watched her slowly gain confidence as a writer. To see her face appearing in the media as an upcoming writer has brought me back to my reason for becoming a teacher; —I became a teacher to help students make their dreams become a reality.”