Athens City Schools is awash with excellent teachers who give their all and make a difference every single day. We want to take a moment to recognize one of those teachers who is going above and beyond to help her students achieve success.
Meet Kimberly Gates.
Kimberly is an Athens native and graduate of Athens High School. Throughout her years at AHS, she had the privilege of being taught and coached by remarkable educators who prepared her for all aspects of college. By participating in volleyball, basketball, and softball, she learned valuable teamwork skills and the importance of hard work from coaches like Randy White and Janet Latham. After graduation, she began her college education at Calhoun where she played softball.
At the time, Gates wanted to be a teacher. As she said in her Calhoun Top Ten statement,” I want influence young minds to be all they can be and reach for their highest goals.” Instead, she decided to pursue engineering. That decision led her to multiple mathematics and chemistry courses. She loved them all, and because of teachers and mentors like Mrs. McBay, Mrs. Clem, and Mrs. Allan, she had the ability and confidence needed to succeed. She continued by taking engineering courses at UAH. According to Kimberly, her professors were wonderful, her classmates great, but yet, she did not feel like the career was right for her. She wanted to teach.
“Becoming a teacher was a calling for me. Being able to teach areas that I am passionate about, in a community I love, alongside amazing educators, is truly a blessing.” – Kimberly Gates
To realize her calling, she made a change. She transferred to Athens State and graduated in December of 2010. She took a maternity leave at Monrovia Middle School and was hired back for the following school year. During her three years at Monrovia, she coached softball while she pursued a Master’s Degree from the University of North Alabama in Mathematics Education. She graduated from UNA in 2014 and accepted the Project Lead the Way position at Athens Middle School.
She is now in her third year teaching and coaching volleyball for Athens Middle. Through Project Lead the Way, she is able to teach students in engineering design and robotics. For Kimberly, it is the best of both worlds; engineering and teaching. Students in seventh grade take the Design and Modeling Course which introduces the students to the design process, engineering occupations, and the Autodesk Inventor software. This year students have the option to 3D print their designs in class. Automation and Robotics is the eighth grade course. Students build upon engineering skills gained in DM by learning about programming and mechanical aspects of robotics. Many of my PLTW students participate in the Technology Student Association which is an organization she hopes to grow over the years. As of right now, her goal is to be able to offer another PLTW course – Medical Detectives – next year. Each PLTW course at the middle school can be continued at the high school level. Students are able to take Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering as well as the Biomedical Science course. From Gates perspective, to see all the students learning through creation and teamwork is truly rewarding. Athens is doing amazing work with structuring our STEM programs, supporting the teachers and the programs, and providing our students with the opportunities to apply engineering principles.
Away from the classroom, Kimberly enjoys spending time with her husband, Sam, and two year old daughter, Spencer. She enjoys reading and helping with community events. During the summers,they enjoy time on the river and participating with her father and brother in the motorsport of tractor pulling, which definitely takes some engineering.
When asked what teaching means to her, Kimberly is clear, saying, “Becoming a teacher was a calling for me. Being able to teach areas that I am passionate about, in a community I love, alongside amazing educators, is truly a blessing.”
Athens City Schools is proud to have Kimberly as a valued member of its faculty.