When she was announced as Salem Church Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year, Kimberly Kane said she was surprised. She couldn’t believe that someone... Kane teaches first grade, STEAM Club at Salem Church Elementary
Kimberly Kane

When she was announced as Salem Church Elementary School’s Teacher of the Year, Kimberly Kane said she was surprised. She couldn’t believe that someone had taken the time to write something about her.

“When you’re a teacher and you have two million things to do, that is a big deal,” Kane said. “I have no time to write a nomination ballot for anybody, and somebody took that time and wrote it about me, and that was enough.”

She initially wanted to be a doctor and majored in biology. After staying an extra semester to have enough credits for a psychology minor, Kane took a semester off and got a job at a day care center. Having her own class and being able to do things she never did before gave her a desire to become a teacher, so she got her master’s degree in early childhood education.

“I feel like I’m meant to be a teacher because I’m not sure [I would feel comfortable in] any other profession,” she said.

Kane has been a teacher for 22 years and has spent four of those at Salem Church Elementary School. This is her first year teaching first grade. She previously taught kindergarten.

“I love the students’ enthusiasm and their love of learning, and how you are building their knowledge base. Sometimes that’s hard to do because they don’t know anything, so you have to really back it up,” she said. “When they learn something they’re so excited, and their love of learning, their love of each other, just radiates through and it makes most days very, very happy.”

Kane loves science, technology, engineering, art and math. She is the director of the school’s STEAM Club, which meets for seven weeks during the year and culminates in STEAM-mania, an event where elementary schools in Chesterfield compete for trophies.

Kane wrote a grant, and the school received almost $5,000 from the Chesterfield Education Foundation to fund a lab so students would have a place where they can meet for STEAM club.

“It’s a work in progress space….” Kane said. “It’s a place where [students] can do their challenges…”

She hopes the school eventually gets a STEAM teacher — a job she would love to do. Kane said STEAM is the only thing she has thought about teaching besides first grade or kindergarten.

“I feel like I’m one of the happy ones,” she said. “I think that is a big deal because if you have to do something every single day that you hate, that’s no way to live your life…”