Behind the Apple - Kimberly Panton

  • Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monica Kreber/Journal Scene Kimberly Panton

Kimberly Panton’s current house is the 52nd house she has ever lived in.

The 52-year-old mother of three has taught in five different countries and moved around a lot before and after getting married. She is now a fourth grade teacher at Reeves Elementary, and one thing she likes to teach her students is how lucky they are that they have the opportunity to go to school.

“In some third-world countries they would love to have a beautiful school like this – or even have a chance to go to school,” she said.

Panton has been teaching a total of 16 years, and said she has moved around a lot because her husband is in the military. She got her degree in elementary education from the University of Central Florida. After graduating she was picked up by the Department of Defense Dependent School Systems and moved to Germany to teach for two years. Panton met her husband Jefferson and eventually moved to North Carolina, where she continued teaching.

From North Carolina they moved to China, where she taught at the international school in Beijing (all taught in English). From there she moved to California, where she did not work, but then resumed teaching when she moved to Okinawa, Japan. After Japan she lived and worked in Korea, then moved to South Carolina.

She taught at Reeves during the 2007-2008 school year, but then the family moved to Australia for two years, where she taught sixth grade at an all-boys school. She moved back to South Carolina permanently in 2010. She has taught at Reeves a total of five years.

Even before teaching Panton said growing up her family moved often because her dad “was a rolling stone.” She attributes her desire to teach to her dad, who was also once a teacher.

“I (would) go into his classroom after school and help him arrange things and grade papers,” she said, “and he enjoyed it so I guess I learned to enjoy it through him originally.”

Panton said her favorite country to teach in was Korea because it was an American school.

“All the standards were the same,” she said. “I’ve taught in schools where there is no syllabus.”

Panton said one of her best experiences teaching was at a time when she taught first grade, and saw the kids learn how to read – how they would see that “words means something – they’re not just letters put together.” One of her hardest experiences teaching was when she had to teach religion at her school in Australia.

“How do you teach the trinity?” she said. “Teaching religion is really tough. I really didn’t know if I was doing it right, and there was no mentor to show me.”

Panton said her professional goal is to maintain the skills she needs to help make every child successful. She is currently pursuing her masters degree in reading and literacy through Capella, online.

At Reeves Panton is also a kickball coach and has been a part of the Pink Committee, which spreads breast cancer awareness – Panton herself is a breast cancer survivor.

Outside of school Panton enjoys travelling, going to the beach and going on vacations with her family. She has been married to Jefferson for 22 years. Their son Charles turns 26 this month and lives and works in Summerville. Their daughter Savannah is 19 years old and finishing her freshman year at the University of South Carolina, where she studies biology. Their youngest son Michael is 16 and finishing 10th grade at Ashley Ridge High School.

The family has three dogs – Bowers, a 2-year-old Terrier; Didi, a 2-year-old lab/cattle dog mix; and Luna, who is almost two years old and is a lab/hound mix. The family also has a 7-year-old tabby cat named Tiger.

Since Panton is so used to moving around she said she gets ansy around her house, and finds herself doing a lot of DIY projects, and also enjoys crafts.

She said her life goal “centers around my kids”: to get them all independent and happy, whatever their careers may be.

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