By: Claire Quigle
Hello Hawkeyes! Happy “Where Do You Work” Wednesday! Meet alumna Kim Sleezer (MA ‘17 Educational Leadership).
Sleezer is from Keota, Iowa, and now serves as the Athletics and Activities Director and the 8th grade High School Prep and Reading teacher at Excelsior Middle School in the Linn-Mar Community School district. She has been employed at Linn-Mar since August of 2012. Prior to teaching for Linn-Mar, she taught high school English at Manson Northwest-Webster High School, high school English and speech at Ankeny High School, and high school English at Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia-Fairfax County Public Schools.
In her current position, Sleezer appreciates opportunities she gets to introduce middle school students to new activities or athletic experiences in their extracurricular programs. She knows middle school is a time when educators encourage exploration of new activities in hopes that it carries students to opportunities they would not have experienced had they not tried a sport, fine arts experience, or club.
“In addition to these opportunities, I feel a tremendous responsibility to be a model for young girls who love athletics as I do,” Sleezer says. “As a middle school student in Keota, Iowa, my parents and coaches encouraged me to pursue athletics and activities as a way to better myself and explore interests that weren't always stereotypically accepted in our community as activities for girls. The encouragement and coaching I received in middle and high school inspired me to become a teacher and coach.”
Sleezer hopes to serve as an inspiration to young girls, helping them understand that the world of athletics and administration is not just for men, but is also a place for women. She wants to encourage young girls to explore career opportunities that they otherwise may not have considered.
Sleezer feels that the support she received while at the University of Iowa College of Education helped her to succeed while taking classes as well as in her career.
“Dr. Haack and Steven Triplett, my clinical professors, challenged me to use my varied educational and teaching experiences and build upon them,” Sleezer says. “Our College of Education professors engaged us with activities that were critical to our understanding of leadership in an educational setting and prepared us for the challenges that were in front of us as educational leaders.”
Despite the challenges Sleezer has faced due to COVID-19, she chooses to look at it as an opportunity to improve education in ways she and her colleagues may not have done otherwise. She knows the solutions they come up with now will help them not only in the present but also in the future. Looking back at her time at Iowa, Sleezer realizes the lessons she learned while in school is what has carried her through this challenging time.
“The University of Iowa and the College of Education challenged me more than ever with rigorous course work but supported me in a way that was exactly what I needed during the times I needed it most,” Sleezer says.
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