Click Here to listen to Ms King's interview with Wayne Norman, WILI-AM
Kim King Selected as State Semi-Finalist for Teacher of the Year
Kim King has a sign in her art room at Southeast School that reads, “You Matter.” When one of her students was helping the principal give a tour to a prospective student’s family, he told the family that art was his favorite class. When asked why, he pointed to the sign and said, “That’s why. I matter here.”
Ms King says that story is why being an educator is her life’s work. Her regard for students and the ability to teach students to trust, nurture and stretch their creative thinking through art makes her a standout educator. Kim King was selected by a committee of her peers and administrators as Mansfield’s Teacher of the Year.
With five years of teaching experience here in Mansfield, Ms King splits her time between Annie E. Vinton School and Southeast School as an art teacher. Although she admits that sometimes specialists outside of the core classrooms can feel like they are “in a bubble apart from the rest of the school community,” her goal is to establish her art classroom as the metaphorical center of the school and the greater community. Each week, Ms King comes into contact with 325 students in Kindergarten to grade 4, so her excellent teaching ripples through students and makes an impact on how they approach their other subjects. In her work she likes to shift their focus from skill-based art work to embedding skills and technique-building. She believes that building student confidence gives them ownership of their learning, a critical goal in the district.
Prior to her time in Mansfield, Ms King taught for seven years at Riverside Magnet School in East Hartford and Westbrook High School, and also tutored reading at a school in Bronx, N.Y. She earned her Masters in Art Education from New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art in Art Photography from Syracuse University's College of Visual and Performing Arts.
She is also active in community work, leading art projects and programs on a variety of topics at the Mansfield Public Library and the Mansfield Community Center. Working closely with Superintendent Lyman, Ms King created the Mansfield Portrait of the Graduate watercolor graphic that the district features. She has tutored refugees from Syria and Korean speakers who are new to her community, and also mentors Korean adult adoptees and prospective adoptive parents.
Ms King is driven by helping students take pride in their own cultural identities. As a woman of Korean descent, she stresses that “students need to see accurate representations of themselves in art, science, literature, and media so that they can imagine a future where they can be active contributors.”
Through a grant opportunity, she traveled to Korea to study its art and culture to learn how “to guide students to develop an understanding and learn to respect people and communities different from their own through art.” As she says, “What better way to inspire student learning and growth than by setting the example of what a lifelong learner and citizen of the world looks like?”
Mansfield is proud to call Ms King one of its own and thrilled that she has been selected as a semi-finalist for the State Teacher of the Year!