Reforming Education from the Inside

    Battling Status Quo And Reforming Public Education… From The Inside

    Kim Klepcyk, Dean of Academic Partnerships and Initiatives
    Lone Star College, Kingwood, Texas
    Former Humble ISD principal, Raise Your Hand Texas Alumna ’12 (REEP)

    Bucking the status quo can be daunting. But when has that ever thwarted a true reformer?

    Kim Klepcyk is Dean of Academic Partnerships and Initiatives at Lone Star College in Kingwood, Texas. She wants to see more transformation in the Texas public school system at the leadership level. Klepcyk says while principals have moved beyond focusing solely on “books, butts and buses,” educators continue to struggle with creating school culture that sufficiently caters to today’s diverse student body.

    “I think we have learned so much about affective education, and about the affective aspect of what we have to do for children and adolescents to actually reach them,” she says. “The students have to know we care about them. We have to have relationships with them and make the shift from the industrial model of education where kids are widgets and have these inputs and we think they’re going to come out on the other end as what we want them to be. That’s just so wrong-headed in terms of what we know it takes now.”

    “When I think of a growth plan for a school, it’s about student learning. What are we doing to impact student learning and help students grow? Change is coming – more slowly in some places than others, but it’s coming.”
    Kim Klepcyk
    Dean of Academic Partnerships
    kim-k

    With nearly 35 years of experience in education, Klepcyk knows first-hand about fighting the status quo, something she had the opportunity to do as a teacher, and ultimately as a principal, at Quest Early College High School in the Humble school district. For a while, Klepcyk says, educators at Quest were able to try some highly unconventional teaching techniques.

    “That school changed my life,” she says. “We had a completely integrated curriculum in which all the disciplines were taught together. We tried to be generalists. The experience made me keenly interested in education issues and reform of public education.”

    Klepcyk views teaching as a human endeavor and says principals ought to establish school culture that first acknowledges students as people.

    “We shouldn’t just care about how much they learn in math, science, or whether or not they learn to read. Those are critical aspects, but we’re also trying to develop people. We have to treat those things equally.”

    In 2012, Klepcyk – who holds a masters degree in higher education with a concentration in English – was selected for sponsorship by Raise Your Hand Texas to participate in the Rice University Education Entrepreneurship Business Fellowship Program (REEP) for educators who desire to learn how to apply business theories to the public school setting. The program aligned with Klepcyk’s philosophy on education and her outside-the-box leadership leanings.

    “REEP helped me think about this idea of breaking the mold in terms of reform and leadership,” she said. “There really are some things we can improve if we thought about ourselves differently. There are some things businesses do when thinking about productivity – studying a process to improve their bottom lines. How can we do that in schools? I’m not saying it will solve everything in education, but it gave me new paradigms for thinking that I can apply as an educator.”

    REEP also offered an impressive principal networking opportunity, Klepcyk said. She was heartened by the business community’s genuine interest in the success of public schools. But that success, she believes, will only come with reform.

    “When I think of a growth plan for a school, it’s about student learning. What are we doing to impact student learning and help students grow? Change is coming – more slowly in some places than others, but it’s coming.”

    NextPrevious