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West Orange Times & Observer Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022 7 months ago

Influencer of the Week: Kim Taylor, Windermere Elementary

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Kim Taylor is the media specialist at Windermere Elementary.
by: Annabelle Sikes Staff Writer

Kim Taylor is the media specialist at Windermere Elementary. Not only does she run the media center, but she also teaches technology, library science and robotics to all students. She runs the News Crew, Robotics Team and Battle of the Books Team. She supports all faculty, students and parents with technical issues, maintains inventory of all digital devices, and trains and supports faculty and staff with OCPS digital programs. In addition, she oversees all social media, school newsletters and the website for the school. One of her favorite tasks is running the Book Fair and raising funds for library books for the school. Taylor is also on the Mustang Fund which raises money to support the school’s technology needs. In 2016, she represented the school as Teacher of the Year.

What brought you to your school?
I have four sons, and my two oldest sons were attending Windermere Elementary. I had been a stay-at-home mom for nine years. My youngest sons were in preschool, and it was time for me to return to the classroom. I was thrilled to be able to teach at the same school that my children were attending.

What do you love most about your school?
WES truly means family. It is a wonderful place to learn and a great school family. Everyone is fully invested in our children.

What is your motivation?
The kids are absolutely my motivation! They bring such joy, and it is so rewarding to witness a child grow and flourish. Our children come to us so eager to learn, and to watch them learn and grow never gets old. 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?
It is a tie between making learning fun and celebrating students’ success. Both are extremely rewarding. I love when kids leave my class saying, “That was fun!” or “This was the best day ever!” and not realizing that they just learned something new.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I love to spend time with my boys, who are all golfers. They recently gave me golf clubs for Christmas so that I can play with them. I’m learning! I also love to spend time with friends.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
I loved being in school and had many wonderful teachers. My first true favorite was Miss McBride. She was my third-grade teacher, and she used to bring her guitar to class and sing with us just for fun. She was hip and cool and sang current songs. We would all do anything to get her to play her guitar for us.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I’ve always known that I wanted to be a teacher. My mom was a teacher and inspired me. At one point we were both teaching kindergarten at the same time for OCPS, and we had the best time sharing ideas.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?
My favorites tend to be based on how the book made me feel when I was reading it. “B is for Betsy,” because it was the first chapter book that I ever read by myself. “Good Night, Gorilla” because I used to read it a million times to my babies, and anything by Eric Carle because when I met him in person, I was absolutely starstruck.

What are your hobbies?
Reading! I also like to do home improvement projects. We also recently began gardening. In fact, we just had broccoli that we grew for dinner!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
If I could have a superpower, I would want to be able to influence people’s minds and lead them to make choices that, in effect, make the world a better place, such as solving world issues such as clean water, education for all, cures for diseases. I would want to influence them to make such issues top priorities and to take the path that may not have all of the glory or monetary rewards, but truly helps people all over the world.

If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
If I think of it more as my favorite bands rather than listening to them forever, I am better able to narrow it down. My taste fluctuates with my mood. If I am feeling nostalgic, I like to listen to ’70s and ’80s groups such as Fleetwood Mac or Queen. If I am feeling stressed, I like to listen to spa music. Currently I like Thomas Rhett, Maroon 5 and Adele. 

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? Any favorite snacks or special treats you remember?
When I was in school in Chicago, we used to walk home for lunch. Our moms would have lunch ready for us, and if we were quick, we could watch a few minutes of “Bozo’s Circus” before we walked back. Sometimes I would be jealous of the kids that lived further from the school and got to stay for lunch and recess.

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?
I was born in Chicago, and my very first best friend, Roberta, is still my good friend. While we live hundreds of miles apart, we still visit each other each year and our families are close. After we moved to Florida, my next best friend, Jodi, is still my friend to this day, and we get together monthly. I truly value all of my friendships and wouldn’t have been able to survive without my village.

 

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Annabelle Sikes is a staff writer at the West Orange Times & Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. She graduated in May 2021 from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in sociology.  Her past...

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