Kim Schuler came to Upper Dublin High School as an athletic trainer more than 25 years ago and if you had added one new responsibility for every year she has worked here you might come near the full plate the 2016 Upper Dublin Medal winner for Outstanding Educator handles in the district.
As coordinator of the special area subjects, Schuler’s responsibility extends over physical education, art, music, computers and tech, business and other courses throughout Upper Dublin schools, from kindergarten to 12th grade.
The role covers a large area but it only became that way recently. Schuler said as her role took on new areas and finally reached its current extent, colleagues affectionately described the swath of subjects she oversees as the “circus tent.”
“When you consider the irreplaceables in Upper Dublin, Kim Schuler tops the list,” UDHS Principal Robert Schultz said in an email he submitted for Schuler’s nomination.
Schultz will be presenting the medal to Schuler at the 32nd Annual Upper Dublin Medals program May 18 at Manufacturers’ Golf and Country Club. He has worked with her in various capacities for nearly 20 years and said in the email that she goes about her work with “collegiality, professionalism, and tireless effort.”
Her contributions at the district don’t stop at coordinating. Schuler has continued to teach classes in health and physical education as well as her specialty, sports medicine, and served various district programs such as the high school’s leadership team.
In a conversation at UDHS, Schuler said she has always been interested in trying new methods and technologies and moving into administration and working on the leadership team has given her a chance to explore and shape new building-wide and district-wide initiatives.
Schuler’s work in less advertized roles has been equally impressive, according to Schultz.
She is involved with programs such as Cardinal Block, a biweekly program used to highlight student work with videos, and Connections which gives the schools minority students a chance to speak with staff about issues and navigating the social and practical challenges of high school.
“Not a lot of people know this but she is really the facilitator of that entire team. She is the go-to person both for the content and the logistics,” Schultz said of her work with the Connections group.
Perhaps her most well-known role is organizer of the Big Pink Race, held annually as part of UDHS’s spirit week. Schuler said what was once the Big Red Race was renamed and color-adjusted to fit in with breast cancer awareness month and money from the event goes to fund a memorial scholarship in honor of Kim Mariotz, a guidance secretary at the school who died from breast cancer.
The Big Pink Race is one of the biggest events of spirit week, regularly drawing around 300 participants. Schultz said it take place mostly on the campus now but before the new building Schuler had to work with the town to set up a safe route in addition to all the other demands of putting together a fundraising race.
Despite an ever-growing list of responsibilities, Schuler continues to succeed. She said this has also been the year she completed the triathalon and turned 50, combined with the Upper Dublin medal to form the trifecta as Schultz is calling it.
“There’s a part of me, even though I do get stressed out and overwhelmed sometimes, I thrive on just a little bit of chaos and deadlines,” Schuler said. “If I had a Saturday where I had nothing to do, nothing would get done, but if I have a full schedule, it keeps you honest.”
Schuler is a natural fit for the Outstanding Educator medal, according to Schultz, in that it recognizes not just an important achievement but work done, both in the classroom and beyond, over the course of years.
“You don’t see many first-year teachers winning this because they did something cool in one activity, this is for sustained excellence and Kim defines sustained excellence.”