Penguin Hall Faculty Spotlight: Humanities’ Dr. Kimberley

Meet Dr. Kimberley, a nature lover, dedicated educator, advocate for strong women and democracy — and so much more. Read on to find out how this APH Humanities Teacher stays grounded and connected to her community.

Why do you teach?

“Because I get great gratification out of seeing those light bulbs turn on… you can see [students] learning new things and it’s very exciting.” 

Humanities Teacher Dr. Kimberley has been teaching for more than two decades, and it all started with tutoring kids. “I had majored in History and had planned to go to Law School, and then I started teaching and the kids were just so amazing.” The rest is history, as they say. Over her teaching career, Dr. Kimberley has taught students of almost all ages, from grade 3 through university level. 

Did you have a favorite teacher growing up?

Throughout history, some of the brightest and best in their field have struggled in school; Dr. Kimberley understands this predicament. “I was dyslexic, so it took me a long time to figure out how to read, and that was in the 70’s (when there was little to no support in schools). School was hard, but I worked really hard at it and eventually caught up,” she shares.  

And, as a high-school student, Dr. Kimberley could also be a rebel — with a cause. Once, she skipped classes to attend a political protest to stop Contra Aid, a hot issue during the Reagan presidency. “I ended up being filmed and on the nightly news, so then it was apparent that I had skipped school. I guess I’ve always been interested in politics and history,” she says. Today, Dr. Kimberley is the president of the League of Women Voters of Cape Ann, and is a big advocate for empowering voters and defending democracy.

How did you decide on which college to attend?

Dr. Kimberley wanted to study Latin American studies in college, but didn’t find that there were many affordable schools offering that major. Her friend wanted to study the same thing, and so they did some research (pre-Internet!) “We had two schools, one in Texas and the other in New Mexico. I remember looking at the map and saying, ‘Let’s go to the square state.’ We applied and got in, then got in my car — a little stick-shift truck that we learned how to drive on the way there.” Dr. Kimberley spent six years in New Mexico before returning to Virginia, and then moving to Gloucester with her husband.

Dr. Kimberley loves growing a variety of fruits and veggies in her garden!

What are you growing this summer that you’re excited about?

If you know Dr. Kimberley, you’re probably aware that in addition to being a historian, teacher, and author, she’s also an avid gardener with a very green thumb. “I always try to grow something that I haven’t grown before. This year is pinto beans,” she shares. Her favorite pinto bean recipe is simple — combine soaked beans, onion, garlic and bay leaf in the Instapot, and let the magic of slow-cooking happen. She’s also trying out Mizuna, a leafy Japanese green similar to mustard greens. “I did a lot from seed this year, so the whole house was taken over,” she laughs.

Walk through Dr. Kimberley’s garden and you’ll also find broccoli rabe, chard, kale, spinach, squash, cucumber, tomato, peas, radish, and bok choy. As social distancing measures remain in place, gardening is one of the things keeping Dr. Kimberley balanced and positive — in addition to spending time with her husband, visiting with friends (six feet apart), and walking with her dogs.

Read about Languages Teacher Dr. Barozzi, and the timeless advice she learned at age 16!