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Rutherford County Schools


The kids are coming.


The kids are coming.


The kids are coming.


A common bond shared by all educators is a love for kids. And, yes, in less than two weeks approximately 46,000 students will fill classrooms in 47 schools here in Rutherford County.


Kim Campbell was genuinely excited as she grabbed everyone’s attention by opening one of her sessions at the annual Rutherford County Schools Summer Conference by yelling “the kids are coming” three times.


“Teachers go into education because they care about kids and they want to work with kids,” said Campbell, a middle school history teacher in the Hopkins School District in Hopkins, Minnesota. “The common bond is that we’re in here for kids, we want the best for kids and we enjoy kids.”


Approximately 1,000 teachers from Rutherford County attended the two-day conference.


Modeled after national conferences — High Schools That Work or SDE National Differentiated Instruction Conference — Campbell is one of 16 national presenters at this year’s RCS Summer Conference, which took place Tuesday and Wednesday at Siegel middle and high schools.


The summer conference even has an exhibit area.


“I am absolutely amazed,” said Campbell, when asked to compare the summer conference to others she participates in. “It’s phenomenal and I’ve never seen anything like this, where you are bringing in national-known speakers, providing (professional development) in a variety of areas, so teachers can choose what they want to get better at.”


“It makes me feel proud that Rutherford County can put this on for the teachers and that everyone comes together,” said Nancy Grams, who is the Professional Development Center supervisor and spends 11 months preparing and planning the summer conference for Rutherford County Schools. “It’s a testimony to Rutherford County.”


Campbell added, “I was watching it and thinking, I wish my school could do something like this.”


Campbell said she leaves conferences like the one in Murfreesboro with an energy because she’s allowed to share experiences and talk about a topic she’s passionate about — education.


One of her favorite and thus popular sessions is about classroom management.


Just as students have different needs in the classroom, so too do teachers and a conference like this helps them to address those needs.


“This last session I just did on classroom management was packed, so there’s a need there,” said Campbell, who saw as many experienced teachers participating as there were first-year teachers. “There are teachers seeking out extra help in an area they might struggle.”


Campbell added, “Veteran teachers and what they’ve done in the past needs to continue to develop. It needs to change with the families and the kids that they’re seeing.”


She is presenting eight different sessions.


Prior to arriving, Campbell said she talks with district leaders to get an idea of what topics their teachers are looking for and the overall message the district is looking to communicate, and adapts her sessions to meet those needs.


“I’m adapting all the time on the spot,” Campbell said. “It’s like you’re a teacher, just with adults.”


Campbell concluded, “One of the things that helps me is that I’m still in the classroom. … I’m not saying anything that teachers haven’t seen themselves. Kids change. Schools change. Language changes. I’m fortunate that I’m right in there.”