B.A., Shippensburg University
Kim Cramer has been all over the United States, held positions in the corporate world, and as a realtor, ran her own business. But now, as a full-time teacher at R-MA, she is finally doing what makes her happiest—and the evidence is not only in her sparkling eyes and almost-constant smile, but in the fun her students have in her classroom.
Cramer started out her career as a branch manager for Manpower, Inc., handling staffing and training. Then she moved on to be a production manager for Interact Theatre Company based out of McLean, VA. In this business, she was not only hiring actors and negotiating for space in which to perform, but she also handled the public relations work and solicited sponsors.
Then, in 1997, the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself to her husband, an actor she met in college, when he was cast as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and went on national tour. For about six months, Ms. Cramer stayed home with their children; then she and her husband decided to take the entire family on tour.
“We have lived in 46 of the 50 states, and spent six months in Toronto, then went to New York City for a year,” she said. “The kids were exposed to so much.”
In 2001 the family settled down in Winchester, VA, where Cramer became a real estate agent, running her own brokerage with three agents and administrative staff. She loved it, but she soon saw a pattern in which she was continuously finding ways to volunteer and be involved in the school system. She coached the Destination Imagination team for four years, with her team earning two regional championships, one state championship, and a third place at the global championships.
After spending two years substituting in public schools and helping with drama, Cramer found a full-time job and home at R-MA as an English 10 and drama teacher.
“The schedule has been grueling,” she admitted, “but I love every minute of it. I love the opportunity to get to know the kids. With coaching and drama [in public school] you get to know the kids at a different level. That’s something you can do here within the classroom, and that’s unique.”
Cramer seeks to make literature come alive for her private school students. “I like to find activities that are engaging to the kids to the point that they don’t even know they’re giving me work,” she said. While the students do have plenty of essays to write, she will also give them more unusual assignments; one example is her unit on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in which students create a board game or a card game that integrates the characters and plot of the novel into the game. It is her goal that through the use of engaging activities and visual stimulations, the students will process the novels in a different way and have a better chance of remembering them years down the line.
Cramer is a self-professed movie buff who of course loves the theatre and traveling. She resides in Winchester, VA, with her husband and two daughters.