Late last month, NewsWorks asked this question of its readers from East Falls and West Oak Lane to Chestnut Hill and Germantown: Who are the best school employees in Northwest Philadelphia?
We fielded many responses from readers, but no one received as many nominations as Kim Birkmire, the office and transportation manager at Green Woods Charter School on Domino Lane in Roxborough.
What follows is a sampling of those glowing reviews:
“Both of my children attend Green Woods, and I can’t tell you how many times I have reached out to Kim with problems that she has singlehandedly been able to solve.
“Every summer and fall, she spends countless hours organizing bus stops and fielding calls from confused and frustrated parents about transportation glitches that inevitably pop up.
“Just knowing that Kim is there, at the school, I feel confident that my child is safe. The love she feels for all of the kids is apparent with each interaction she has with them. As far as I’m concerned, Kim is the reason that Green Woods is such a warm and welcoming place.”
“This year, our school endured a huge influx of students enrolled (over 160 new students) that needed transportation arrangements within weeks of school starting.
“Kim contacted families, worked with bus administration and spent numerous hours of her own time to manage the situation. She is an iconic figure in our school.
“She has always worked hard to ensure the safety of our of our children.”
— Joy Kimbrell
“She is the kindest, most thoughtful, happy, helpful lady. I walk away from school every morning smiling and happy that Kim Birkmire is a part of my son’s school day.”
“Kim is that go-to person who everyone can rely on to get the job done. She looks out for the children, families and teachers, and gives 100 percent each day. I cannot think of another person so deserving!”
From a neighbor
“I’ve never been to Green Woods Charter School, but I can tell you first hand that Kim is an honest, dedicated, employee who truly cares about all of her duties at this school. She is such a force there at Green Woods and everyone knows Kim!
“Kim also works many unpaid hours from home on schedules to make sure that each and every child is safely transported to and from school and working with bus companies coordinating it all. That’s not to mention that I’ve already walked into her home, and her dining area has been filled with gifts baskets, and items obtained for donations from outside sources and friends for fundraisers that she’s involved in and out of the school.”
“Kim’s husband and children also tell me how hard she works and many days she’s exhausted at day’s end, but she truly is a model employee and always has her best foot forward, which comes through naturally for her. And her family really appreciates and acknowledges how hard she works!”
— Judy Gilbert
Founder/parent of a former student
“Even though my son has graduated from Green Woods, I still depend on Kim to find things out for me. I think her position heading should actually be ‘Jack of All Trades’ because she wears many hats! If she doesn’t know the answer, she will find it out for you.”
“I am one of the founders of GWCS, so I am still involved with the school. Kim is my ‘go to person’ for everything! She has done a lot for the students and families.”
–Joan L. Carr
What a third grader’s nana thinks
“From my first encounter with Mrs. Birkmire two years ago, she has always been kind, courteous and helpful in every situation. I have found that no request is to big or to small for Kim to handle in a most professional and courteous way.
“Kim may have many things going on in the morning, but if one of the children is bothered by something, it could be that they misplaced something, she calms them down and helps in any way she can. She wants the students to know that they can come to her at any time and she will be there to help them. Kim deals with the students with kindness and compassion that a mother herself would use. What more could we ask of her?”
–Judith A. Bellucci
Does it all
“Her offical title is transportation coordinator, but she is so much more than that. Mrs. Birkmire is always ready willing and able to help out wherever.
“I know that, as a parent, if I have a problem, Mrs. Birkmire is always there if for nothing else but advice. She is an amazing person and we as parents are lucky to have her interact with our children.”
— Gary Guldner
“My children attended Green Woods and I volunteered there for 12 years. I saw Mrs. Birkmire always going that extra mile to take care of the school community. Any time a parent or a child would have a question or an issue, Mrs. Birkmire would always cheerfully, and with great care, find an answer and follow any issue to its resolution.
“From an administrative task to a forgotten lunch, everyone always goes to Mrs. Birkmire for her skillful and kindly administered solutions. She has a way of listening to everyone with such interest and patience, she knows her job so well and is always available to anyone who is asking for her time.
“Mrs. Birkmire truly deserves acknowledgement for her years of dedicated and sincere service to her school community.”
— Vickie Fenton
A student’s perspective
“Mrs. Birkmire was a wonderful faculty member at my grade school. She was always there for any child that needed her. She was for me, and I’m sure still is, a support aide that was ready to work out any problem no matter how big or small.”