Kim White has always loved middle school.
Some of her best friends she met in middle school. Her eighth grade teacher attended her wedding. White spent 11 years teaching middle school and another six years as the assistant principal of Dawson County Middle School. Now, White is embarking on a new adventure in her first year in her new role as the DCMS principal.
“I know that middle school is such a transformative couple of years for kids; I was blessed that it transformed me into who I am today,” White said. “I love the quirkiness of a middle schooler, I love their uncertainty. I love their childlike ways and I like when they want to be adults.”
“Ignite” is the word White has chosen to base her first year in the new role on.
“I want to ignite passion, creativity, critical thinking and the love of learning in our students and that’s kind of our focus for the year,” White said. “I think one of my biggest visions with Ignite is that by the end of the year we can have a big parent open house where kids are presenting their ideas and their passion projects with their parents, the community and the school.”
White said that middle school always holds a special place in her heart. One thing that drew her into her current career is the transitional time middle school is for the students.
“They’re just in that middle period where they’re still kids, but they want to be treated like adults, White said. “They’re figuring out who they are and I wanna help lead them into their path and their future.”
Remembering the stress of being a teenager and figuring out how to start making that transition from childhood to adulthood gave White a goal to do all she can to help her students navigate middle school.
“I learned a lot of crucial and important lessons,” White said. “I made a lot of good friends. I have a lot of great memories, but I also remember being a teenager and feeling unsure and awkward and having questions about who I am and my self-esteem, and the people around me in middle school helped to support that.”
“I feel like middle school is the crossroads; it’s where kids are really gonna make that decision of ‘who are my friends', ‘what do I believe', ‘what am I gonna stand on’ — and really we have a critical piece in helping them get on the right path.”
On the first day of the 2021-22 school year, White said she was both excited and nervous, but kind greetings from the students walking through the front door encouraged her.
“I feel like a 6th grader walking into the building,” White siad. “You’re nervous on the first day and then once you get your nerves out you’re just so excited to get the year started and start putting things in place so that we can meet our goals for the year.”
In the end, White said that the thing that matters the most to her as she moves into her new role is that she keeps the students at the center of all she does.
“As long as I always make my decision with kids first in mind and what is best for the kids, then I can’t go wrong,” White said. “Even if for some reason, the decision doesn’t end up panning out the best, I hope that I’ll be able to sleep at night knowing that my decision was made with the best intentions, which is what’s best for my students and my kids every day.”