Since August of 1994, Kim Land has educated generations of students at Travis Middle School, all in the same classroom she was first assigned 30 years ago. With her upcoming retirement quickly approaching, she reflects on her career in the classroom and those who have been instrumental throughout her journey. Land is an Irving native and graduate, having attended Brown Elementary, Lamar Middle and Nimitz High Schools, which she says played a huge part in her decision to return home to teach. Growing up, she always wanted to be a teacher because she was surrounded by amazing educators – starting with her family.

“My grandparents were teachers, my father taught math at Irving High School and I always loved the teachers I had growing up. I wanted to be like them and teach students the way they did,” says Land.

Land serves as a 6th – 8th grade English Language Arts Reading (ELAR) teacher at Travis and says her decision to remain there throughout her career was simple. When reflecting on various milestones in her life, she says they all took place during her time at Travis – her second home.

“My colleagues over the years have been like family to me. I have spent my entire adult life here. From getting married to the birth of my kids – who both attended Travis – they have held me up through every part of my life,” she adds. “I also remained at Travis because I felt like this was where I was needed. This is where I could make the most difference.”

When asked who has been instrumental throughout her career, Land says several people come to mind.

“When I first started, I taught with someone named Tia Biamont. We were both new to teaching, and we learned everything together. Tia and I became great friends, and we still are today,” says Land. “I also had a principal, Terry Cooper, who was very special to me. He maintained the building, always stayed in touch with happenings on campus, and he did his best to make sure faculty and students were taken care of. During the time that he was my principal, my dad became ill, and Mr. Cooper was really there for me. He really saw his teachers as human beings. There have been so many others over the years who I appreciate and are still friends with to this day. There’s a group in particular that I still have brunch with several times a year, and they know who they are.”

Land adds that her current colleague, 6th grade Gifted and Talented ELAR teacher Pia Pulido, is someone who’s very important to her and someone she bonded with instantly. Pulido’s admiration and appreciation of her friend and colleague is mutual.

“Her 30-year tenure at Travis, combined with her mastery in nurturing emerging bilinguals, makes her contribution to education immeasurable and her impact profound. I admire her dedication as a master teacher. She’s a rare gem,” says Pulido about Land.

While she’s excited for retirement, Land says she will greatly miss seeing her students in the classroom. One of her favorite things about teaching is being able to connect with students each day and seeing their contagious joy when learning a new skill.

Being an educator is in her DNA, so Land plans to continue pouring into the youth through a one-on-one tutoring program. Next on her to-do list is to travel, with her first destination being Colorado – one of her favorite places to visit.