“Believing in people can be a catalyst for positive change.” – Kimberly Mecham, USA
Director of the Center for Leadership & Innovation
St. Thomas School
Medina, Washington, USA
When MIE Expert Kimberly Mecham was in college, she taught a math class to young male felons at the California Youth Authority. At the end of the class, a student gave her a charm from a cereal box and thanked her. That unusual experience inspired Mecham to pursue a career where she could help people be their best.
Positive change and innovation are at the heart of Mecham’s mission. “I believe the biggest challenge in education today is to prepare students for a world that we can’t imagine,” she says. “Artificial Intelligence and machine learning are changing our world more rapidly than at any other time in history. In response, it’s more important now than ever to teach through the lens of creating life-long learners, and emphasizing skills like emotional intelligence, critical thinking, and creativity so students can adapt as job needs change and evolve.”
As a school administrator, Mecham believes it’s critical to collaborate with teachers on how to do things differently to prepare students. This includes using the right technology tools to personalize learning for each student.
“I love the elegance and power of OneNote paired with a Surface device – it has become ubiquitous in our 3rd – 8th Grade programs,” Mecham says. “When I co-taught a unit on Innovation, we benefited from the collaboration space to do a group-based unit assessment using the Design Thinking process to design a space for our new Center for Leadership & Innovation. This was paired with an online assessment in Forms (using the Take a Test feature) for each student to complete individually.”
Today, the charm she received from the young prisoner is still part of what inspires Mecham daily – in fact, she keeps it on her desk. “Believing in people can be a catalyst for positive change,” she tells us.
About Kimberly Mecham
- Blog URL: http://www.stthomasschool.org/about/sts-blogs
- Educational background: BA in Mathematics from the University of the Pacific
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: OneNote and a Surface Pro (the pen is a must!)
- What is the best advice you have ever received?When I was working in the corporate world, my manager said, “If you’re in your office, you’re not doing your job.” The intention was that you must be out with the people you are serving to best understand the issues you are trying to solve. I would say, the principle of that advice is the same in schools. I need to be living what teachers are doing in order to set a better vision, and to help serve our mission.
- Website I check every day:I read the Washington Post daily, and I look at Twitter a couple of times a day for professional development.
- Favorite childhood memory:Going to Kings Lake Fine Arts overnight camp with my friends from around the state (Alaska) every summer. I played the violin, but this was full of boating, crafts, dances, and socializing!
- Favorite book: Shadows of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón