The Beauty and Blessing of Working Alongside One Another
I love getting to see her throughout the day and share this dream with her.
By: Kimberly blair, Lydia Blair, Karen Tejeda, Brianna Tejeda, Kim Thompson, and Mary Prothro, Perimeter School Faculty and Staff Mothers and Daughters
As those of us who are part of the Perimeter School covenant family know, our school is a special place. Many on our faculty and staff are also Perimeter School parents, Perimeter School grandparents, or Perimeter School alumni parents. Several are Perimeter School alumni themselves! The influence and blessing of being a part of this covenant community is so significant that many want to continue to be a part of the mission and legacy of our school . . . and some even encourage their family members to join them!
We have three mother/daughter pairs on our faculty and staff this year: Kimberly Blair (Perimeter School fifth grade teacher and Perimeter School alumni parent) and Lydia Blair (Perimeter School fifth grade teacher and Perimeter School alumna), Karen Tejeda (assistant to the heads of school and Perimeter School alumni parent) and Brianna Tejeda (Perimeter School sixth grade teacher and Perimeter School alumna), and Kim Thompson (Perimeter School fifth grade teacher and Perimeter School grandparent) and Mary Prothro (Perimeter School second grade teacher and Perimeter School parent).
We asked these mothers and daughters to tell us about the beauty and blessing of getting to work alongside one another and how God’s plan brought them here to work together at Perimeter School.
WHat led you to your position at perimeter school?
KIMBERLY BLAIR: I came to observe a first grade class about 20 years ago, hoping to send our firstborn, Rachel, here. When I got home, I told my husband that not only was it the PERFECT place for our daughters, but that when the time was right, I wanted to teach at Perimeter School. I was so excited about the half days and all of the extras (picture studies, nature studies, etc.) and getting to teach, as a parent, on Fridays. After being a stay-at-home mom for 14 years, I felt like God was calling me back to the classroom when my youngest daughter was heading to first grade. I taught part-time in first grade for three years and then bumped up to fifth grade.
LYDIA BLAIR: I grew up as a student here at the school and have always treasured the relationships I built in this place. Teachers like my mom have fostered such precious relationships in this school, and I couldn't help but feel drawn to that role. The fact that we are both fifth grade teachers is a serendipitous example of God's sovereignty, and I am thankful for that! She is so passionate about this work, and I couldn't think of a more impactful way to begin my teaching career than to join her in this mission of loving students, teaching them to love learning, and demonstrating, together as a team, how to serve.
KAREN TEJEDA: Having been a parent, a room parent, and a member of the school ministry team, I grew up here. God showed me, through this body of believers, how to walk with Jesus, how to parent, and how to pray for my kids and the world around them. So, when my chicks started leaving the nest, I knew this is where I wanted to be . . . to continue to further the mission and work of Perimeter School.
BRIANNA TEJEDA: I was a student at Perimeter School in first through eighth grade. I dreamt of becoming a teacher for as long as I could remember. When I was in middle school, a few of my friends and I began talking about how, one day, we would be teachers here. I would even daydream during class what my classroom would look like.
When the time came to apply for jobs, I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Goodrich, and he was able to write a recommendation for me for Gwinnett County. During my first year of teaching, I wrote a letter to Perimeter School to share my heart about the school, the lessons I had learned as a result of being student, and the ways those lessons shaped me into the person I am today.
At the end of the school year, I got a call from the Mr. Goodrich about a position that had become available in sixth grade. I was reluctant at first to leave my Gwinnett County school behind because of all that they had done for me and the relationships that I had built, but I knew I couldn’t turn down the offer at Perimeter School and was thrilled for the opportunity to work at a place that I held so near and dear to my heart and to be able to give back to the covenant community.
KIM THOMPSON: I was teaching in the public school system when Mary called me at school asking if I would want to take her position in sixth grade once she left to become a full-time mom. I had been asked about joining the Perimeter School faculty before, and I had always felt strongly that I was called to public school. However, Mary prompted me to take some time to pray about it. God indeed led me to apply at Perimeter School knowing that it too is a “mission field.” I love getting to teach with my heart wide open and to consistently relate all subjects to our biblical worldview!
MARY PROTHRO: I taught here eight years ago, before I had children. I loved working at Perimeter School. My mom took my job eight years ago as I stopped working at Perimeter School when I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I thought it was really neat to pass along all of my teaching materials to her as I was stepping out of sixth grade to stay home with our children. I knew she would love teaching at Perimeter School as much as I had.
I started really desiring for my children to have similar experiences as our students gain at Perimeter School. I wanted my children to be engaging in Scripture, experiencing God in academics, studying the genius of their Creator through nature study, and learning habits that would impact them for a lifetime. Seeing my mom in the classroom started to inspire me to want to come back to teaching. I feel so blessed to be back here and back in the classroom at Perimeter School again this year, and I absolutely feel so blessed to work at the same place as my mom!
What do you love most about working with your mom/daughter?
MARY PROTHRO: I love being able to see my mom as we go about our day. She is usually coming down for lunch with her fifth grade class after I have finished carpool for my second grade class. She is such an encouragement! Just that brief moment to say “hello” and give each other a hug reminds me what a special place Perimeter School is. We do not work alone. We are surrounded by loving encouragers, and it is a true gift to have my mom as a coworker! My children are usually in my room eating lunch at this time, and it is so much fun for them to get to see their grandmother. She is a superstar to them! These are sweet memories I know we will all cherish forever.
KIMBERLY BLAIR: Since Lydia has been two hours away at school for the last four years, I am enjoying reconnecting with her and sharing ideas about ways to teach together. It’s fun to share all of the excitement and for her to see the “the other side” of Perimeter School. Since she was a student here, she knew it was special. Now she is discovering WHY it is special by seeing how much time is spent in prayer and encouragement with the other teachers and how blessed we are with the leaders God has given us at this school.
BRIANNA TEJEDA: I am most excited about my mom being near as I live my dream. She has championed me year after year and has been there for me when chasing my dream was difficult. She was the first to listen to my tears night after night and encourage me to keep on, knowing that I would regret it if I quit. Now she gets to see me do it. She gets to see me work with children instead of stuffed animals. She gets to see my face light up with joy when students have light bulb moments. She gets to hear in person how things are going instead of hearing over the phone. I love getting to see her throughout the day and share this dream with her.
how has perimeter school and the covenant community impacted your family?
KIM THOMPSON: I love that the entire staff of Perimeter School is committed to pouring the love of Christ into me, my daughter, and my granddaughters. There is nothing that compares with the covenant community at Perimeter School. As we, through God’s wisdom and grace, pour into others, in return, others are pouring into us.
LYDIA BLAIR: The covenant community of Perimeter School was foundational to the way that my parents raised my siblings and me. Our family functioned from a place of wanting to love and share life with each other and others, and this has translated into deeply rooted friendships with my sisters and parents as we enter adulthood and new seasons of life. Because of foundational lessons that taught use to act selflessly and engage in work for the Kingdom, our family craves time together as we share in each other's burdens and joys, caring for one another.
KAREN TEJEDA: One story that comes to mind happened when Brianna was in sixth grade. She and her youngest sister were scheduled to perform in the school’s talent show. I was called out of town for a family emergency; Eric was set to record the show. His parents had flown in to see their performance and to help him while I was away, but they all arrived at the auditorium too late. The show had run ahead of schedule, and Eric and his parents missed the girls’ dance. It had already been a very emotional week for our family, but this was the last straw for Eric. As he was driving away frustrated, Brianna called him saying, “come back . . . they are going to let us do the dance again.” He made it back and, through tears, recorded their dance, blown away by the willingness of the people behind the scenes to love on us in this very specific, seemingly small (but not for us) way.
BRIANNA TEJEDA: Perimeter School has impacted me in countless ways. From the habits and skills that were instilled within me to the relationships I developed. To this day, some of my closest friends are those that graduated from Perimeter School with me. The two greatest gifts the school has given me are my love of teaching and learning and my relationship with Jesus. Perimeter School encouraged a love for learning through the depth and richness of its curriculum. My teachers taught me how to live a gospel centered life by modeling excellence and being faithful to what God called them to. I met Jesus through this place, and that is priceless. God used the teachers at Perimeter to draw me to Himself. They were beautiful examples of how to live a life faithful to Christ; one that is centered on Him.
how has working together impacted your relationship with your mom/daughter?
KAREN TEJEDA: Every once in a while, if you happen to be in the sixth grade hall, you might see me spying on my kid being an adult and living her dream. It’s a gift I never expected!
KIM THOMPSON: We are both fully aware of the joys and trials of serving students and families. We can pray with and for one another as well as bring truth to light when we are struggling. Mary is extremely creative, so it is really fun to bounce ideas off her to help me think more creatively.
KIMBERLY BLAIR: Working together is still new to us, but it seems to be a real blessing to be able to share ideas. Using my years of experience and Lydia’s energy and new ideas, I feel the fifth graders are getting the best of both worlds.
LYDIA BLAIR: My mom is officially one of my closest friends. What a win! She is so eager to help me as I learn, so quick to encourage me, and has walked by my side in this new season of my life. I can't think of any sweeter thing than to have your mom two doors down, always there with a listening ear and selfless heart. This being my first year means I have much to learn - every day.
The path between our two doors is already very worn, and I am thankful for a friend and mom who is so eager to share this space with me and encourage me in this adventure. It is a dream come true!
Pictured on the left: Mary Prothro, Elise Prothro (kindergarten), Corrine Prothro (second grade), and Kim Thompson. Pictured on the right: Kimberly Blair and Lydia Blair. Karen Tejeda and Brianna Tejeda are pictured above.