PUSD’s Director of Transportation/Facilities Kim Barker

By Tara Fort

Badger Strong! That’s how thirty-year Prescott resident and fifteen-year Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) employee Kim Barker describes her life and family. Kim, Director of Transportation/Facilities, started out as a part-time employee in the district’s print shop and spent most of her years at Miller Valley until it closed in 2015. After Miller Valley’s closure, Kim joined the department as an Administrative Assistant leading up to her current role.

A testament to PUSD’s ability to adapt during transitional times, Kim’s colleagues say she “is the first to jump into any role when there is a gap to fill.”

As a leader, she has developed a successful training program for other drivers that is so robust and thorough that it is offered to drivers from other districts encouraging them to be their best. Over the past few years, Kim’s department was tasked with creating new routes to support students and families during distance learning in 2020 and 2021, and also delivered food to students while they were in remote locations.

Kim said, “We worked with our Food Services Department to develop a plan and went right to work creating routes for our bus drivers and food service personnel to bring breakfast and lunch to children in our community.” She added, “The program offered meals to all children under 18 within the community. That was one of the most humbling experiences for my department to do!”

With the leadership, compassion and care that defines PUSD, Kim has made it a point to know her employees and their families, and always makes sure their needs are considered. PUSD Marketing Director Rebecca Horniman says, “Kim has the love and respect of all employees in her department. She is the ultimate boss and has created an incredible culture full of trust and consideration. She even recruited her son to work alongside her—he, too is very impressive! When we recognize women who balance home, family, and career, we look to women like Kim.”

Said Kim, “Self-care is often one of the most important features when trying to balance career and personal life.  If I can take just fifteen minutes a day to release the day-to-day stress, I can find that balance.”

Outside of district obligations, Kim is a talented photographer who has some of her photos hanging in her office. About photography, she said, “I love that you can look at a picture and see that it tells a story.”

Kim holds the title as the first non-educator to be recognized by the ETA Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Women in Education. And, her credentials go beyond the district: she is also an Arizona State Certified Chiropractic Assistant and a Certified Pharmacy Technician.

Although she has many passions, Kim said, “My heart is within the Prescott Unified School District. I love the interaction with students and staff, and the compassion for student growth shown by the staff is what attracted me to bring my children here. All three attended PUSD from kindergarten to Graduation at Prescott High School.”

Badger Strong, indeed!

For more information about Kim Barker and the Prescott Unified School District, visit www.prescottschools.com.  To see Kim’s photography and other passions, visit kimbarker.smugmug.com.