Valuing Family Support (#49)

Summer is a great time for reconnecting with our families and for recalling the tremendous support we receive from our “school families.” In this summer rebroadcast, Kim Crumbley reflects on the family values that support her work as a school counselor.

Inspiring School Counselors
Inspiring School Counselors
Valuing Family Support (#49)

This Week's Storyteller

Kim Crumbley is a school counselor at Parkside School in Alabama where she serves K- 8 students. Kim loves collaborating with other counselors and travelling, and can’t wait to hit the road again. Kim and fellow counselor Laura Rankhorn co-host the counselor podcast Counselor Accents.

Photo of Kim Crumbley

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Matt Fleck:
Hi everyone, welcome back to Encouraging Words for School Counselors, I’m Matt Fleck with Inspire Success. We hope you are having a phenomenal summer break. 

During summer, we get to spend more time with our families – often away from our “school families” who help keep us sane throughout the school year. Sometimes our school families understand the chaotic nature of school counseling better than anyone. 

In this summer rebroadcast, we bring back Kim Crumbley, school counselor at Parkside School in Alabama, and cohost of the popular Counselor Accents podcast. Kim’s “work husband” is her school principal. They both started working at the same school in the same year. 

Kim Crumbley:
When I met him, it was in the summer and I drove up here and he was on the lawn mower. The one and only time he mowed the school’s yard, he ran over some kind of internet connection and shut the whole town down. So I went out there, out through the field to meet him and he’s mowing the yard. And I said, “Hey, I’m Kim Crumley, I’m your new school counselor. And I don’t know what I’m doing.” And he said, “I’m Richard Orr, your principal. And I don’t know what I’m doing.” And we went on to prove that we did not know what we were doing, especially Pl that first year.

When Kim started, she had over a thousand students on her caseload and didn’t always know how to handle the variety of situations that confronted her.

So the first year, right, one of the first things that happened, it was an older teacher. She’s retired now and we could hear her squawking. So I go out in the hallway and she’s in the bathroom, pulling out four little boys and they were playing with their little boys. I don’t know what to call it. They were in the Netherlands, if you will. And so, there’s four of them. And he said, you take two and I take two and we’re going to handle this situation. Well, I took my two. I get down my Elvis puppet. We began to talk about inappropriate and appropriate within one minute, I’m just getting the puppet going. And he comes in, he had paddled his students, came right in, saw what I was doing. He said, this is not what I meant by taking care of it. And he turned [garbled]. And we laugh about that every time I was like, that is literally my job. The other is your job. 

Hmm… It’s difficult to transition from that, but… Over the years, Kim and her principal have encountered many more challenging situations which have only strengthened their bonds of friendship and support. Kim has also formed strong friendships with other counselors, such as Laura Rankhorn – a counselor at another school who is not only a friend and colleague but also Kim’s co-host for the Counselor Accents podcast. It is these shared experiences and bonds of friendship with other colleagues that Kim says make all the difference. 

Just thinking about how we’ve laughed together. We’ve cried together. We’ve lost students, we’ve lost parents, we’ve lost teachers. So, you know, there’s been a lot of laughter and a lot of tears that we have shared. And, you know, and Laura knows this, you know, we’ve had suicide, we’ve had cancer, we’ve had murder. Uh, we’ve had just about all of it, but through it all, I think the sense of humor that our climate and culture lends itself to, we believe in laughter here, we let kids laugh. We laugh loudly. We teach that as a coping skill. And Laura knows I’m attracted to people who have the sense of humor because I love, uh, that was the first thing, you know, that with Laura, we became fast friends because I realized that she copes the same way I do. And a lot of times with laughter.

Thank heavens for our school families, right? You can hear more laughter and stories with Kim and her friend Laura on their podcast called Counselor Accents. It’s fun, it’s informative and available on all of the major podcast providers, just as our little podcast is. 

A reminder, if you’re headed to the ASCA Conference in Las Vegas, stop by and say hello in the air-conditioned exhibit hall…we’re at Inspire Success booth #804. We might have a little something for you if you volunteer to share one of YOUR stories of your school counseling experiences. So stop by and say hi. 


Hey, thanks for listening. Have a great week!