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Teachers are Heroes: Kim Dunbar has a positive impact on school culture

Published Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Mrs. Kim Dunbar

Mrs. Kim Dunbar (BCSD photo)

Teachers dedicate their lives to helping the children in their classes prepare for the future. Some teachers go a little farther.

Mrs. Kim Dunbar at Berkeley Middle School is one of those special teachers.

BMS Principal Mike Wilkerson struggles a little when asked what makes Mrs. Dunbar a hero teacher, because she brings many incredible attributes to the campus of his school each day.

“She is one of the hardest working teachers I have ever been around,” Wilkerson said.

Mrs. Dunbar was in the first grade when she found her calling. She wanted to be just like her teacher, Ms. Sweezy. “She was smart and seemed to want to share that intelligence with all her students,” Mrs. Dunbar said.

Making the effort to help all students – it’s something Mrs. Dunbar does each day, and it’s something that her principal says has a visible impact on the school.

“Everything she does is centered around making Berkeley Middle School the best it can be,” Mr. Wilkerson said. “Whether it be writing grants for the school or participating on our school leadership team, her actions everyday are focused on helping not only her students, but every student.”

Mrs. Dunbar enjoys seeing “the light bulbs go off” in a classroom when students figure out a lesson and advance their learning.

While her proudest moments evolve from the role in her 6th-grade classroom, they don't always present themselves in the typical setting.

She recently crossed paths with a former student who has since joined the military. At one time, that student considered dropping out of school.

“I managed to convince her to put in some extra time and effort to strengthen her math skills.  We worked long & hard most of that school year.  She had gone on to be reasonably successful during the rest of her middle school career,” Mrs. Dunbar said.

Positivity – Principal Wilkerson says Mrs. Dunbar’s attitude is contagious. Not only has it impacted the lives of her students, but it’s had a visible impact on other teachers.

“She loves being a mentor to younger teachers, and has helped many have successful starts to their careers,” he said.

Mrs. Dunbar was the 2017-18 Teacher of the Year at BMS, and she’s known for going “above and beyond.” Mr. Wilkerson said he’s witnessed other teachers follow her lead.

“A young teacher in her grade level who she has worked with in the past took it upon herself to work on her own over the summer to place positive quotes throughout the halls and bathrooms of our school. This is an example of the change in culture occurring at Berkeley Middle School that I believe Mrs. Dunbar has helped to establish through her attitude and actions,” Wilkerson said.

Mrs. Dunbar graduated from Columbia College in 1985 with a BA in physical education. In 2008 she obtained a MAT in elementary education from College of Charleston.

Brian Troutman