By Dani Moritz-Long
After enduring one winter too many in her home state of New York, Kim Foster, faculty, New Student Experience (NSE), and her husband moved to Florida in 1997. Two years later, she began her 18-year career with Valencia — an institution she describes as “an incredible place to work.”
“I’m incredibly proud of being part of an amazing work family whose sole purpose is to provide opportunities and education for members of the community,” Kim said. “I am grateful, each day, to collaborate with such intelligent, forward-thinking and motivated individuals. Finding my way to Valencia, and performing well enough to stay at the College and work alongside leaders in education and humanity, would definitely be my biggest accomplishment so far.”
Throughout her tenure at Valencia — which has included six different roles at the College — Kim has thoroughly embraced learning, as both a student and an educator.
Holding a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, a master’s degree in leadership of education organizations and an Ed.D in educational leadership and management, Valencia has provided ample inspiration for her to pursue her passion for learning.
“One of my strengths,” Kim explained, “is being a ‘learner,’ so I have a feeling I will embark on a new educational adventure in the near future.”
As for inspiring students to realize their passions for learning, Kim is grateful for the opportunity to make a difference — whether by helping students navigate college, identify a career path or by just being there to listen.
Particularly as an NSE educator, Kim values the ability to make a direct impact on Valencia students.
“I enjoy nearly everything about the NSE program,” she said. “I would have to say the part of NSE I enjoy the most is providing access and opportunities for our students and letting students know that I am always in their corners to offer assistance and support. I love to provide support for others and share my passion for learning and education with students, and the NSE program allows me to do that through my interactions with incoming and returning students.”
Through NSE, Kim also enjoys the opportunity to help keep Valencia’s promise to the community.
“Valencia not only signifies promise in the sense that the dedicated faculty and staff members work diligently to uphold agreements to ‘provide opportunities for academic, technical and life-long learning,’ but Valencia also embraces each individual student and encourages him/her to recognize and fulfill personal promise that we each hold within ourselves,” Kim said. “Community members, business partners and even visitors throughout the area recognize Valencia for its steadfast dedication to helping people identify and achieve their dreams. I think, when the community thinks of Valencia College, it sees hope and promise for the future.”
Campus Dean of Learning Support Landon Shephard says Valencia is lucky to have Kim — who he describes as “an extraordinary professor and advisor” — to help fulfill that promise.
Alex Penn, faculty developer and instructional designer, agrees. “Kim is extremely intelligent, well-versed in educational theory and practice, and she genuinely cares about faculty and student success,” Alex said. “She is also continuously committed to professional development and improving her teaching practices.”
Outside of Valencia, you can find Kim braced in the passenger seat teaching her 15-year-old son to drive or brushing up on biology, pre-calculus, and anatomy and physiology to help him get through the next year of high school. When she has a few moments of respite, you’ll likely find her sharing laughs with her family or hitting the gym (perhaps preparing for her next triathlon, since she completed an Ironman triathlon in 2008).
Know of someone who embodies one of Valencia’s Values (learning, people, diversity, access or integrity), who has been an employee for one year or more? Send the colleague’s name to us at The_Grove@valenciacollege.edu. He or she might be one of our featured colleagues, subject to supervisor’s approval.