Director of Clinical Development
At Aspire Academy, Kim works collaboratively with our leadership team to ensure that things are always running smoothly. As a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) and certified Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) therapist, Kim oversees our Lead Teachers as they develop and supervise the individualized programs for each of our students.
We asked Kim 5 questions so that you could get to know her better:
1. What values are most important to you?
There are lots of things on my wishlist for Aspire! In the next 5 years, I would love for Aspire Academy to grow into a busy and thriving private school that offers options for preschool to highschool aged children. More importantly, I want students to arrive with smiles on their faces; motivated and ready to take on the day, and for parents to feel confident when they drop their children off. Confident because they know their child is in good hands, because they see changes and growth, and because they feel connected to their child's experience and our academy. I would also love to build a school community with an exciting calendar of events, an active parent council and strong alumni!
3. When are you most energized, productive and satisfied at work?
4. What is the biggest career challenge you've faced recently?
5. What's on your wishlist for the next 5 years at Aspire Academy?
2. What does true leadership look like?
It's hard to narrow down which values are most important to me, but to start, open-mindedness, innovation and creativity come to mind. The fields of education and autism research are constantly evolving. Throughout my career, I've learned the importance of evolving with these changes and keeping an open-mind when new developments and ideas arise. I've learned not to be afraid of the things I don't know yet, but instead, to dive-in and connect with people who can teach me new skills and show me creative ways to solve problems.
There are so many layers to being a leader. To me, true leadership is remembering that leading is a privilege that comes with a lot of responsibility. I am always looking for the potential in others, but I know that for this potential to grow, we all need a space that is safe, honest and vulnerable. Creating and leading this type of space at Aspire Academy is one of my top priorities.
I also believe that true leaders are able to lead with confidence, without losing sight of how valuable their team members are. We'll have the greatest impact when we work together in a way that nurtures our individual strengths and supports each others' shortcomings.
When I see growth - in myself, my clients and my team! Seeing change, and the potential for more change, keeps me motivated and energized. I love watching the joy on a students' face when they figure something out for the first time. Sharing this excitement with our educators and families always reminds me why I love working in education.
I also really enjoy solving complexes problems and cases, especially when they require me to work collaboratively with other team members and professionals.
I recently completed the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) Certified Therapist training. This was such a rewarding, but challenging experience. It really pushed me outside of my "behaviour analyst" box and led me to explore different teaching techniques that I ended up really connecting with. It was also very humbling to go back to the beginning of the learning process. It reminded me of how tricky it can be to start from scratch, and how satisfying it is to learn something new.
Fostering a sense of belonging for those around me is also really important. I love digging-deep and figuring out what really matters most to each of our students, families and educators. I want Aspire Academy to be that space where everyone belongs, where everyone can come and think "this is the place I'm supposed to be".
I can't talk about values without mentioning family. Family is at the core of everything I do. With two kids, and two step-kids, I know that keeping a healthy work-life balance is the only way to keep everyone at home and at Aspire happy.