Kim Wilson figured out that education was her career pathway when a high school business teacher took an interest in her future. While journalism piqued her interest at one time, once she figured out she wanted to be a teacher, the rest was history. She would spend a 36-year career in education as a teacher, principal, and superintendent. The last 14 years of her career she led two Ohio career and technical school districts, where I was fortunate enough to work with her in both districts. Kim actually gave me my first break as I was trying to get into the PR and marketing field and it was truly an opportunity of a lifetime to get to work with her in two districts. Mostly because she is the epitome of what great leadership is all about and she genuinely made every decision with students in mind. That commitment and focus on doing what is in the best interest of students led to an increase in enrollment at both the districts in which she served as superintendent. At Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, during her eight years there, student enrollment went from 456 students to nearly 1,600 students served and impacted by career-tech. During her time at Tolles Career & Technical Center student enrollment increased from an average of 500 students to nearly 1,500.
But sometimes doing the right thing gets met with resistance and we talk a little about that in this conversation. We dive into how politics gets in the way of progress in education, unions, and more. Most of the freedom of this conversation comes from Kim’s retirement, which began in August 2017. We talk about what she’s doing now that she is retired, what it was like to be a female leader in a male-dominated educational leadership system and much more.
Kim probably doesn’t think of herself as a rule breaker, but the work she did during her 36-year career changed the game in ways she probably doesn’t even recognize herself.
This episode was recorded at Kim’s home in Cincinnati and her dog makes a special appearance as well. Listen for the squeaker toy in the background!