My name is Kimberly McDonald. I began my teaching career twenty years ago in a two room school house teaching Kindergarten through third grade in remote, rural Idaho. I spent the next four years enjoying the energy of junior high school students in grades 6-8 before I stepped out of the classroom when my second daughter was born.
During my time away from public school I began to experiment with entrepreneurship and opened my own preschool in order to spend more time with my oldest daughter as well as becoming a correspondent for my local newspaper. I was also given the opportunity to write my own weekly column titled, “Back at the Ranch.”
Eventually, I began working one-on-one with students and was asked to help a little boy with severe autism. This sent me on a journey that resulted in me becoming certified as an intensive behavior intervention specialist and a developmental specialist for children and adults. I learned Applied Behavior Analysis and the Picture Exchange Communication System while working with children who had significant developmental disabilities. One of my little clients changed my life after I observed her continual struggles with school.
I resigned as a behavior therapist so I could experiment with homeschooling my former client whom I discovered had dyslexia. When no resources could be found to help her I began training to become a dyslexia specialist and ultimately opened my own reading clinic in Burley, Idaho. Years later I was asked to work with a little boy with dyslexia who attended a Montessori school. I was intrigued by my experience in his classroom, so I applied to work part time as an assistant in a Montessori classroom in Ogden, Utah so I could learn more. The next school year I was offered a co-teaching position in an upper elementary classroom in a different Montessori school in Utah.
My dyslexic students in my classroom pulled at my heart strings, however, and I was prompted to open a school for dyslexic students the following year. I loved having the opportunity to direct Inspire Academy for two years where we celebrated dyslexic learners and educated the public about this unique learning style. Unfortunately, circumstances occurred that made it necessary to close the school, so I began to look for a teaching opportunity that would bring me back to the Montessori method.
I am grateful to have the opportunity to be teaching now at Mountain West Montessori Academy. When I am not teaching I enjoy finding memorable experiences to have with my husband and four children.