Kimberly Hargrove’s passion for young people inspired her to become an educator in Person County in 2018, joining her husband Prentice Hargrove who has taught at Person High School for more than a decade. Kimberly brings to the classroom a strong educational background with two Bachelor’s Degrees from North Carolina Central University, one in Psychology and the other in Criminal Justice. She is currently completing a teaching certification at Central Carolina Teaching Institute. After graduating from Person high in 2002, Kimberly left Person County for a short while. But she returned in order to raise her three children in the community that she loves. Her story shows that home is where the heart is.
Q) What was your upbringing like in Person County?
A) I originally grew up in the Brookstone Community. My family later moved to Depot Street when I was in 1st grade. We lived there until I was in 5th grade and then we moved just around the corner to North Main Street. My father and mother still live in that home. I was encouraged at a young age to be independent and to appreciate the safety and closeness of a small town. Growing up downtown allowed me to really get to know our community and meet lots of people. I did a lot of walking and actually didn’t drive until I was 18! I attended several churches in the area and was very involved with athletics with parks and rec and later with my respective schools.
I left immediately after graduating high school because at the time I saw no value in being here. There was very little that one could accomplish here, or so I thought at the time. But being away for a while, it finally clicked: I needed to leave this community to grow but it is my purpose to bring back the skills I learned and developed so that I may build and give back to this community that poured so much into me. When my children were becoming school aged, I knew I wanted them here and not anywhere else.
Q) What is your career path and what are your proudest achievements?
A) Prior to becoming a teacher, I spent over 12 years in the health insurance industry. Last year was my first year teaching and I taught Theater Arts at both Southern and Northern Middle schools. I am currently an English teacher at Southern Middle School, as well as the girls basketball coach. And I’ve just recently taken on coaching girls soccer. I was also the assistant softball coach for Person High School for four years and I have coached parks and rec softball and football. I enjoy working with young people and encouraging them to be their absolute best. I focus on teaching basic skills and fundamentals for my teams. I am also very active in theater and hope to continue to perform and be involved in activities at the Kirby Theater. It is my dream to one day build a recreation center that focuses on curating and cultivating the athletic and academic talent of the youth in our community.
Q) Why is it important that women be recognized for their foundational work in our community and our nation?
A) In 2020 it is important for women and girls to see the value that they bring to the table. It should be no question that women are essential to the success of our communities, businesses, cities, towns, states, nation and the world. As a mother of a daughter, I expect her to understand that we are not here to be given anything out of pity, but that we can earn and work for our place at the table. Smashing the glass ceiling and ending stereotypes is how we will build our legacies and leave our mark.
Q) What do you envision for the future of Person County?
A) I hope one day Person County will allow change and growth. We are slow in doing what’s right for our community because many fear change. While I would never want to lose the closeness, safety, and small town feel of this county, I also don’t want it to be stagnant. I know the people in this community are capable of greatness.
Q) How do you wish to be viewed by the girls and young women you interact with?
A) I hope when girls and young women look at me, they see someone who is real—someone who has a servant’s heart and places value in doing for others more than herself. I’m not trying to be important to everyone, I’m just trying to fulfill my purpose with passion.