New Mexico Teacher Spotlight: Kathy Zimmermann

New Mexico Teacher Spotlight: Kathy Zimmermann

Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades
15 years in the classroom.
“I feel my responsibility as a teacher is to instill confidence and curiosity and then show the students the possibilities that await them. Change in public education is upon us and we have a choice to either embrace it and champion our children or stay quiet and watch them suffer.”

I was born and raised in Deming, Luna County. I am part of the fifth generation to grow roots in the unforgiving southwestern desert. I was born to loving parents, and I was very lucky to have both of them growing up. My dad passed away in 2001, but my mom is still my best friend and one of my greatest supports. I graduated from Deming High School in 1988. I married my first husband in 1994. I celebrated the birth of my son, Challen in 1995 and my daughter, Kelsie in 1999. With the birth of my daughter, I decided it was time to follow my childhood dream of being Cinderella at Disneyland – OH NO, wait – not that dream. I was already entirely too old! So, instead, I followed my dream of becoming a teacher. My third grade teacher was a wonderful lady named Sallie Wilcox, and I always knew that I wanted to grow-up to smell as good as she did and be a great teacher, just like her! There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think fondly of her and praise her for her patience.
In order to make this dream a reality, I began my first college class at the age of 30. I earned my BA in elementary education at Western New Mexico University, then went on to continue my education at Eastern New Mexico University, earning a certificate in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). In May of 2017, I finished my course work and earned my Master of Arts in Education from New Mexico State University. I began my journey as a teacher in 2003 where I taught kindergarten until 2014. My husband, Robert, passed away that year, and I decided it was time for a change, so I moved to the elementary school that I attended as a child in order to teach third grade. I loved third grade, but at the end of my first year with the “big kids” I was offered a position teaching in the multi-age program. I loved the idea of combining what I had always done in kindergarten with all the new things I had learned in third grade, and, as they say, the rest is history! Except for the fact that I am now remarried to a wonderful man, Kirk, who also happens to be a teacher. He teaches P.E. here in Deming and is also an assistant football coach for the Deming Wildcats! Go CATS!
I have found that teaching is not really a career but rather a life choice. I absolutely love what I do. Our children are our most precious natural resource and through education we are able to secure our future. If we teach them compassion and respect for our past, our present, and our future, then they will have the tools to sustain and possibly even create a better world than the one we know today. What we do as teachers is so much more than imparting facts. In our tumultuous world, which is driven by technology, we don’t necessarily need to teach children information but rather how to gather and use information. Each morning I come to school eager to see what new discovery my students will make and hopeful that I will be able to strike a spark of curiosity in them that will sustain their desire to find out more.
Most recently in my career I have had the privilege to serve as a part of the Teacher Leader Network as a member of the Secretary’s Teacher Advisory. I have made many new friends from all across the state and have gained a respect and understanding for our public education system. The most important thing that I have garnered from this experience is how important it is for teachers to network, find their voices, and advocate for our profession and, most importantly, for our children!

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