Kathy Clark

NW new staff full interview with Kathy Clark, the SPED gifted facilitator

What does your position entail? 

It entails working with our gifted population of students. Gifted and talented students are a very unique population with challenges, setting goals and looking to the future.

What does a day in your life look like?

I get up early, just like all of us. I also pay close attention to current events, so that it’s a topic that I can talk with my students about. Also, making sure that I know what’s going on with them and seeing what it is that they need, that all of their needs are met academically for their future for the goals they’re setting. I’m going to be looking forward to getting that part. I feel like I’m being pulled back, so it’s gonna be nice when I feel like I’m finally doing what I love to do.

What inspired you to go into this field?

Well, actually, my own children are very bright. When I first started a family, I actually thought all children were like this, that they talked at six months and read before four . I do believe that all children have gifts and talents. When children come along into this world, they’re like sponges, and they just can’t get enough. They’re just so eager to learn and I found that that continues on with gifted children, as even as they grow. So, that’s really what inspired me was working with children as they grow and mature.

Were you a teacher before you did the gifted program?

Sort of. I actually was a graduate student at KU and I came and worked with the gifted program at Shawnee Mission during a time of getting IEPs finished. I was hired to work with two different schools, SM North and SM West. It was such a short time that I didn’t even remember that I had done this until they gave me my ID number. They were like, ‘Oh, this is a really old one.’ Then I said, ‘Oh, I didn’t even know they hired me.’ That was over 20 years ago, so I didn’t remember. I do remember working with the gifted program and that was what inspired me to go into it. So during graduate school, I worked with the gifted program and I thought it was amazing. So when I went into teaching, I had some students approach me and asked me if I would start one. And so that’s actually how I began it, began my own teaching career in gifted .

What makes Northwest stand out from other schools?

I love the school colors. I love the friendliness of the students and the staff, the administration is so fantastic with their leadership. I’ve felt so welcomed. All of those things are such positives. I feel right at home. 

Highlight of your year so far? 

I’ve figured out how to do attendance. Getting some of the bugs worked out of the technology has really been a highlight this week. But also, coming in and feeling like I’m starting to get real comfortable with the students is probably the biggest of the highlights. 

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Getting to know all of my students. I can’t wait until I feel like I’m there, or at least I’ve begun to start down that road.

What are your top goals for the year?

To feel when students are moving on from high school, that they have a good direction, and that I played a role in that. That I was positive with them as they moved on. 

How can students contact you? 

Email, which is kathyclark@smsd.org. They can also reach me here at the school in room 105. 

What is one thing you would say to the NW student body?

Well, if the mask wasn’t on, hopefully my smile would be recognizable. Maybe smile with my eyes. I just look forward to making it a good year. I am just excited to be here, excited to have a classroom back.

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