Kim and Ken Wiseman have always donated to the schools their children attended. So when their older son, Kyle, BBA ’19, enrolled at Baylor, the family wanted to support Baylor through the Give Light campaign, as a testament to their support of Baylor’s unambiguously Christian educational environment.
The Wisemans’ support is enhanced through a matching gift from Ken’s employer, Qualcomm, Inc., where he is Vice President of Technology. But it is Kim’s 30-year career as a teacher that inspired them to direct their gift to the School of Education.
Kim taught third-graders for 25 years, second-graders for four years, and fourth-graders for one year — all in Murrieta, Calif., where she began teaching “brand new out of school, credentials not even dry.” Just a year prior, she had never imagined a career in teaching. Kim majored in physical education and was working toward a master’s degree and a career in athletic training or physical therapy, but she kept finding herself bored with the daily routines.
Kim was also leading aerobics classes, and a few young women in class told her she had a gift for teaching. They were teacher-education students from a nearby college, and they invited her to visit their own classrooms to “observe,” which evolved into “helping out” — and Kim loved it.
“One thing you can say about teaching is that it’s never boring,” she said.
Kim’s teaching career began in a rapidly growing California town — in portable classrooms with no books, no paper,
no furniture, no chalk boards. The teachers managed to
find 1930s-era furniture in storage and used butcher paper taped to the walls as chalkboards. After that, you’d think teaching would be a breeze, but it brought new challenges daily, Kim said.
“Teaching is not easy,” Kim said. But as a teacher, you always have an impact, whether or not you see it. Because of that, the Wisemans want to see Christians stay in public schools as teachers and administrators.
“If all of us who are Christians walk away, what does that leave? If you take out the light, there’s just darkness,” she said.
To provide support for Christians in education, the Wisemans chose to establish an endowment in the School of Education’s new MA in School Leadership, which prepares principals for either public or independent schools. Support is particularly important for principals, Kim noted, “who don’t really have peer support on campus.”
Both graduates of San Diego State University, Kim and Ken are now living north of Waco on property they bought for son Kyle when he moved out of Baylor campus housing. Kyle is now a police officer in Waco, and Ken is working remotely, supervising teams in California and overseas. While Kim does not plan to return to the classroom, her dedication to education has not waned.
“The number of decisions you make in an hour as a teacher is more than most people make in a day,” she said. “I realized early that I could not please everyone, so I tried to keep an attitude of teaching in a way that was pleasing to God.”
To find out more ways that you can support the School of Education, please contact Michele Tigelaar at (254) 227-7373 or via email at Michele_Tigelaar@baylor.edu
. You may also visit baylor.edu/GIVE