Kim Nelson, pictured above, with her son Ben, husband Don and son Austin. Not pictured is the family cat, Fluffins.
She has a bright personality and is passionate about teaching, even after 34 years in the profession. Kim Nelson is the Learning Resource Strategist at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary. With plans to retire next year, this year proves to be memorable for Nelson.
Nelson grew up in Moorhead and graduated from Moorhead High School in 1983. She attended college at Minnesota State University Moorhead and went on to get her Master's degree from North Dakota State University. She didn’t realize she wanted to be a teacher until college. Her father was a long-time Moorhead Area Public School teacher and coach. “I kept trying to push it out of my mind, but I always went back to it,” Nelson says. Upon graduating, Nelson accepted a teaching position in Cyrus, Minn.
With a year of experience under her belt, Nelson applied for an open position in Moorhead. Thirty three years later, she still loves being a part of the Spud team. The bulk of her career was in a classroom; for 26 years she was a 5th grade teacher. “I loved it; it was the best job ever. I enjoyed every part of classroom teaching,” Nelson says. After years of teaching the same grade, she decided to make a professional change.
She transitioned to teaching in the gifted and talented program, which led to her current position.
This year looks different from any other year in Nelson’s portfolio. “One area I have focused my time on is with quarantined families to keep them engaged and connected to our schools,” Nelson says. Her day-to-day duties have changed in distance learning, but her passion for children’s literature remains strong. Through immersing herself in children’s books and getting to know each student, Nelson is proud to be able to find the perfect book for a specific child in a heartbeat.
Kari Yates, Elementary Learning and Accountability, says Nelson has gone above and beyond this year in connecting with students. “Whatever Kim does, she brings great commitment and energy to it,” says Yates. “In her extra duty as a member of the "Quarantine Team" this fall, Kim has taken extra time to make sure that even when kids can't physically be in the building, they still feel a sense of connection and belonging.” Yates added that Nelson has sent hand written notes along with hand-selected library books to every single student who has experienced quarantine at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary this fall!
Besides working with students, one of Nelson’s favorite parts of her position is collaborating with co-workers. “With my experience as a classroom teacher, I take pride in doing whatever I can to make teachers' jobs a little bit easier,” Nelson says. In her role as Learning Resource Strategist she has the opportunity to connect with teachers and staff from all grade levels. “I am inspired by the absolute talent I get to work with,” she says. “The quality of my colleagues not only inspires me, but makes me happy for the direction of our District.”
After a year filled with new challenges and unique circumstances, Nelson is looking forward to and a bit nervous about retiring next year. She will miss her relationships she has built across her various roles. Even so, Nelson is looking forward to spending time at the lake and working part-time is an education-related field.
As she transitions out of the school system this year she leaves a bit of lasting advice for the next generation of educators. “Work hard and invest time and energy into learning,” Nelson says. “Taking this extra step will allow you to become the best that you can be.