The poet Maya Angelou once wrote, “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” That spirit of teaching and giving could very well be the theme for Kim Reeder, member of the RCSHS Class of 1987 and now the new head coach for the RCSHS Speech Team. She is returning to Rowan County Senior High School to give back some of the lessons that she received under the tutelage of teachers, such as Ginny Landreth-Etherton, who was the head coach of the Speech Team when Ms. Reeder was in high school.
After spending much of her adult life outside Kentucky working as an attorney, Kim Reeder returned to Rowan County in 2014 to help take care of her ailing mother, who passed away in August 2015. Ms. Reeder and her daughter, Ansley, have settled into life here, finding numerous ways to give back to the community.
“Kim did not come from privilege, but, from the time when she was young, she had that grit and determination to make something of herself,” said Ginny Landreth-Etherton. “I think a lot of us that were teachers at the high school recognized that in her. If I scheduled speech practices or we had a tournament, if Kim couldn’t get a ride, she would walk to school from her home near Haldeman.”
It was that same grit and determination that took her to Yale University where she received her B.A. in Political Science, then to Duke University for a Masters in Public Policy and then to law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has since become one of the nation’s leading tax attorneys. Now, though, she will be teaching oral communications at Rowan County Senior High School and will assume the position of head coach of the Rowan County Senior High School Speech Team.
“I learned so much from Ginny,” said Ms. Reeder. “What I learned from her and from being on the speech team has had a direct impact on my career as an attorney. I want to open the oral communications class to all students and help them learn the impact that great communications skills can have, both in their everyday lives and in their careers.”
Since coming back to Rowan County, Ms. Reeder has been finding ways to mentor students, offering them some of the same advice that she herself received when she roamed the hallways of Rowan County Senior High School as a teenager. She has worked with Speech Team students, helping them perfect their delivery. Ms. Reeder has been a passionate supporter of the annual Distinguished Young Woman (formerly Junior Miss) program. (Ms. Reeder held the title of Rowan County’s Junior Miss 1987.)Before the DYW programs, Ms. Reeder can be found working with the young ladies to perfect their interview skills and their impromptu speaking skills. (Ms. Reeder held the title of Rowan County’s Junior Miss 1987.) She has served as a substitute teacher when RCSHS Language Arts teacher Lindsay Johnson had to be out on maternity leave.
“Kim’s experiences and enthusiasm combine to help her motivate students. She knows firsthand the courage that it takes to be brave enough to chase your dreams,” said Lindsay Johnson. “I have seen her work tirelessly to help students showcase the best versions of themselves through GSP and GSA applications, speech pieces, DYW talents, and scholarship applications. She sees their potential, believes in their power, and works alongside them to help them become whatever it is that they want to be.”