Summer break is here!  It is the moment all of our kids have been waiting for and we are so excited for slower mornings, more time at the lake… bike rides, fun, rest & exploration.  We, however, didn’t want to miss an opportunity to pause and say thank you to those that have invested in our kids all year long.  Teachers, thank you for your constant patience, your passion to nurture, equip, challenge and inspire the next generation.  We see your hard work and applaud your achievements.  Because I have Teacher Appreciation on the brain, for this month’s Live Oak Spotlight, I have chosen to feature an innovative & passionate teacher, Kim Reinhardt.

Kim has not only been a significant teacher in our lives personally… she makes a difference in the lives of hundreds of students every day.  I am forever grateful for the impact she has had on us and am inspired by her heart & ambition.  One of the interesting things that sticks out to me is how she has arranged her classroom like a coffeehouse!  She was the blessed recipient of Journey’s extra furniture when they closed their downtown location.  I was very curious about how the new set up has positively impacted the tone and learning experience for her students and was excited to hear her say she has seen a considerable improvement in the student’s ability to collaborate.  The classroom’s “coffeehouse setting” fosters an atmosphere of community and encourages the students to work with one another more comfortably.

Name: Kim Reinhardt
Occupation: Teacher

Family: Mom to Isaac & Clarissa

How many years in Midland: Since I was 4 years old… I attended Chestnut Hill, Northeast, & Midland High

Educational background: Graceland University, 22 years of teaching Kindergarten, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders

Community Involvement: Lifelong teacher & Board of Directors at the Nature Center

Personal Testimony: I have lived a blessed life… I have come out of a divorce happier & stronger and have become a better mother.

Favorite Quote: “

“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”

Amelia Earhart

Personal Philosophy: Take the negative and make something good out of it.  There is always a silver lining.  We get to choose good over bitterness.  When things are good, remember to be thankful… 

Be open-minded, look for the good in everyone.

Where do you get your grounding?  Family… my parents are solid, faith-filled and a steady & constant in my life.  My kids… my job… it gives me perspective.

What are your most treasured connections? My family & friends.  My sister is my best friend… she is my number one cheer leader & supporter.

What are your dreams? To be financially free… to raise happy children who are good people & passionate about what they do.  I want my kids to be comfortable with themselves and to have good friendships.  Teaching is my dream.  It is literally what I have always wanted to do.  It isn’t only what I do… it is who I am.  It allows me to be creative and to make a difference by investing in our kids, our future.

What are you passionate about? Teaching!  I am living the dream!  Giving kids a solid sense of self in a very pivotal year sets them up to live to their fullest potential.  Kids need the opportunity to explore what they want to learn.  My goal is to expose students to many different ideas or solution and let them figure out what works best for them.

What breaks your heart? Injustice drives me crazy, the divisiveness in our society.  Not being able to be who you are and feel safe.

How have the winds of life strengthened you?  The birth of my children changed me from no longer putting myself first.  The responsibility of nurturing these little people to grow into decent adults is a huge responsibility.  My priorities were shifted and redefined and my love multiplied. 

My divorce was another season of challenge & reflection.  I have always had a strong sense of self, but by the end of my marriage I was so discontent.  I had to reflect on what was in me and define more clearly who I would want to be with and I have learned that I can be happy by myself.

How do you want to change or improve Midland? I want Midland to become a great place and expand to become a haven for all families and all people.  And I desire more respect, trust & support of public education.

Thank you for your authenticity and vulnerability in sharing with us Kim.  At the end of the day, “we all live at the same address” (a favorite quote of mine by Joel Stocker)  Thank you for how you have served our community and our families.  Let’s continue to make Midland a great place… one act of kindness at a time.



-Written with love,  Renee’ Deckrow