Kimberly Fernandez 
Lead Teacher, Cranium Academy

Kimberly Fernandez is one of our lead teachers at Cranium Academy of Winter Garden, teaching Kindergarten and First Grade. Kimberly said she originally worked in the retail industry but decided she wanted a career change after her son was born. She knew she always wanted to be in training and development, but she said that she never fit into a role that felt fulfilling.

After a friend suggested she get into teaching, she applied to an agency to become a substitute teacher. “I was accepted as a sub at Cranium Academy in Winter Garden, and after my first day I fell in love,” Kimberly said. “I loved the kids, the teachers, the philosophy and the environment. I knew I would be here for a very long time.”

At first, Kimberly said she volunteered because she loved it and didn’t want them to find someone else. She said she wanted the students to have continuity day to day until she was hired fully. “I was hired on as a sub in August of 2016, and filled in various classes, from Associates to Kindergarten,” Kimberly said. “I loved Kindergarten the most. An Assistant in Associates opened up in November, and I graciously accepted. I finished out the year there and voiced my desire to be in Kindergarten someday.”

The following year, Kimberly accepted an Assistant role in Kindergarten/First Grade, under lead teacher Tatiana Creaser. “She taught me so much and encouraged my love for teaching in a way that I couldn’t have imagined,” Kimberly said. “After a year of hands on teaching and learning from her, I was offered a Lead Kindergarten/First Grade position this school year.”

Kimberly said that being given the opportunity to be placed where she was passionate has been extremely rewarding. “I am exactly where I want to be, and where I feel that I am supposed to be,” she said. “The first time I heard a student read, that couldn’t read at the beginning of the year, made me realize how important this role is. Having the freedom to individualize the learning paths for my students and seeing them succeed has been the most rewarding part of my career.”

Throughout her growth with the company, Kimberly said that Endeavor has offered her much support. “I was thrilled to attend the Endeavor Conference last year, in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida,” Kimberly said. “I learned so much about so many important topics, such as positive discipline, communication with parents, dramatic play ideas and teaching through music. There are so many teachers with amazing experiences that I draw my ideas from to incorporate in my classroom.”

There have been many highlights and proud moments during Kimberly’s career at Cranium Academy, but some stand out from the rest. “I am most proud of my students,” she said. “I am proud of them every single day. I am proud to be a part of such an amazing team of women that puts students first. I am extremely proud of our CAPS Elementary team, and of all the things we are passionate about together.”

Kimberly advises her team members in the field to always stay strong and have patience. “Commit to your vision and think about it every day,” she said. “Your vision and your classroom should reflect you. Please remember this: your students take in every single thing you say and do. It is crucial to take the time to get to know your students and make them feel important. They will learn the most when they are in a comfortable environment. Love them as your own. Make sure your team knows what it takes to get your elevator in the penthouse!”