Kim Bahr was recently named as one of the three state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Although she began her career at BYU with an interest in speech pathology, a series of opportunities and choices have resulted in her becoming an elementary school teacher who has earned a master’s degree in elementary mathematics and is a state finalist for a Presidential Award.
Her love of math education and excellence have led her to qualify as a finalist in the state of Utah for the national Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching for 2008. If selected as a winner, Bahr will be awarded $10,000 and given the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC, to meet President-elect Barack Obama. If given the opportunity to meet the president, Bahr hopes to effectively represent the unique education she received at BYU. “I hope that I can portray the perspective that education is fundamentally a moral endeavor as I represent the state of Utah and Brigham Young University,” she explained.
Originally from Springville, Utah, Bahr began attending BYU because she had always loved the school, and it was convenient for her family at the time. In 1995 she received a bachelor’s degree in special education with a minor in communication disorders. Although she loved going to school and enjoyed the journey toward her degree, one of Bahr's favorite college memories was graduating. She appreciates how the gospel was incorporated into her education at BYU, and how she was taught to make her teaching student-centered.
Bahr has been employed in Alpine School District in Alpine, Utah, in various positions since she graduated. She spent 10 years working as a preschool special education teacher and planned on keeping the position for her entire career, but other opportunities came along. “That’s how life goes,” she said. “You plan a course and then follow the opportunities.” She went on to teach reading recovery for two years and kindergarten for three years. “These opportunities opened new doors for me that have also been very rewarding and educationally growing experiences,” she remarked. “I really enjoy change and being creative and seeking new challenges.” Additionally, Bahr commented that learning to teach effectively is an ongoing endeavor. “I never expected to learn and experience so much,” she remarked.
Bahr is married to Damon Bahr, associate professor in the Department of Teacher Education, and they have four children and two grandchildren. The Bahrs enjoy going on dates and spending time with their family doing a number of activities: running, biking, hiking, and traveling. Bahr and her husband hope to someday serve several missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints together.
January 7, 2009