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Midge Kimble: 30 Years of Supporting Students
Midge Kimble

By Mel Malmberg 

Midge Kimble always, always has time. She seemed to attend every after-school event, every parent coffee, all while attending to the needs of every student.  

As dean of students, science and psychology teacher, grade level dean, and middle school director, Kimble invited countless kids to come by her office and be heard. Her contributions to Prep range from the Peer Counseling program to Homecoming, from class trips to service days and dances. Kimble always made sure her favorite time of year, culminating in Baccalaureate, Commencement, and Promotion, ran smoothly. 

Even before her retirement in June 2021 after 30 years at Prep, Kimble’s impact upon generations of students and colleagues was palpable, deep, and far-reaching. Since she stepped onto campus in 1991, she personified the honor code. In fact, she helped create it, among her many achievements at Prep. 

Her name transformed into verbs. In Science Department Chair Laura Kaufman’s house, “To Midge” is to take care of something immediately. “Kimbling” is 11th Grade Dean Katie Canton’s word for purposeful wanders around the campus. Used as an adjective, “Kimble-approved” conjures up sweaters and spirit days, appropriate t-shirts and jeans riding at the hip, not below. 

Kimble knew all the best napping spots on campus, though her usual mode was on the move. “Let’s go, it’ll be fun!” was a common phrase her friends and colleagues heard often. She would walk the campus, easily found at Nutrition, lunch, and passing periods as she caught up with students.  

Intellectual and curious, she is compassionate, authentic, approachable, affable, egoless, and direct. She investigates, connects, shares. She lets people tell their stories, helps them look for the roots of their problem, and prompts, “Okay, so what’s next? What do you want to do? How can I help?” Above all, she remained student-first.  

Everyone Has a Story 

Kimble always invited students to tell their stories first, just to her. She might involve teachers and parents, but at the beginning, it was just her and the student and the problem at hand. Students report that her friendliness, her belief in them, and her check-ins were invaluable.  

Everyone agrees that even when she was busy, Kimble put everything down to listen with calmness, wisdom, and compassion. As she grew as a teacher, and then as a dean, she says, “I learned that life is complicated for kids and families, and that you need to hear their stories.”  

Director of Outdoor Education and history teacher Michael Roffina agrees. “She never gave up on anybody, even when they weren’t their most likable selves. She always says, ‘Wait a minute before you pass judgment,’” Roffina notes.  

“When we see kids at their lowest points—when they are daunted, or intimidated—she knows how to support, to bring students out of defeat, to tell them they are wanted, that they are invited to be part of this community because we care about them,” says Assistant Head for Student Life Barrett Jamison. 

Kimble’s lifelong friends are her current and former colleagues. A parent of Megan ’04 and Katie ’03, Kimble is a dynamic database and connector of alumni, involving graduates as Science Fair judges, mentoring them, teaching their kids, and meeting them for coffee. 

Twenty years after crashing into her at a class retreat, Ben Teitelbaum ’04 remembers her “grace and firmness.”  

“She was glad I was having such a good time; she also thought I needed to better understand time, place, and energy…a lesson I’m still grateful for today,” Teitelbaum shares.  

“She is more concerned with somebody’s overall emotional wellbeing than grooming the next leader,” says Registrar Brenda Diaz, who believes Kimble’s relationships with students keep her open-minded and learning everything she can. “She doesn’t ever say ‘I disagree’—if she doesn’t fully understand, she’ll be reading a book on the topic the next time I see her.” 

Midge Kimble

A Lifelong Learner 

Kimble always knew she wanted to work with young people and taught for 10 years before her start at Prep in 1991 as a 7th grade science teacher. “Students’ energy is amazing,” she says. “They’re moldable, they can change, and it’s fascinating to see them come up with their own ideas about life. So much happens between the ages of 12 and 18!” 

A perpetual student herself, Kimble relished the opportunity to bring research to campus policies alongside Head Emeritus Peter Bachmann, who praised “her omnipresence, her absolute commitment, and her eternal scholarship.” She studied distractibility and addiction before coming up with Prep’s cellphone policy. Kimble delved into learning and the brain; she attended conferences with her colleagues and read into new research to apply what she learned into her own teaching, inspiring her fellow faculty along the way.  

Fittingly, Kimble gave the Baccalaureate address to the Class of 2021, acknowledging a year of struggle for herself, for the graduates, and for the world. “This year has made me grateful for things that I previously took for granted like being able to walk around Prep and see all of you, to have spontaneous conversations, to wonder out loud about your latest performance on the basketball court or your latest play. I missed lunch lines, breakfast burritos, and the various outdoor spaces at Prep.  

“This year has also revealed to me how our society is unequal, how access to opportunity depends on your race and income, how racism has been a part of our society, and injustice is part of our world. May we all use this knowledge to face our changed world and take action,” Kimble emphasized to the graduating senior class. 

“From every student I’ve mentored and every student I’ve disciplined, I’ve learned something new, something that has broadened my life and perspective…,” she reflected. “May you all be so lucky to find the thing that gives you as much fulfillment and purpose as teaching and being a part of this community has given me.”  

Forever Connected 

This summer, Midge Kimble moved to Austin, TX with her husband Jeff to create new connections, to continue to mentor others, and to spend time with her daughters and grandchildren.  

“Her footprint is on this campus forever,” Dean of Students Beth Pattinelli says.  

Byron Yang ’05 spent the pandemic administering COVID-19 tests and vaccines, inspired by Kimble’s philosophy of science that was instilled in him in 8th grade. He wrote to wish Kimble well in her next phase and encapsulated the impact she leaves upon us all: “We carry your voice with us wherever we go.”