A Hernando mother who has been active as a booster for her child’s school and its athletic programs has been named the DeSoto County Schools’ Parent of the Year.
Kim Starnes was selected to represent the school district and be recognized for her role in supporting Hernando Middle School.
Kim and husband Erek Starnes had a son involved in football and soccer at Hernando Middle School this school year. They have a daughter who will enter middle school in the fall.
With her position as a broker associate for Crye-Leike Realtors, Starnes has been able to invest time in backing the school and also serve leadership positions in two areas of support: the Hernando Middle School PTA, where’s she has been its treasurer the past two years; and as president of the HMS Athletic Boosters organization.
“Well, I’m completely honored and I am shocked because I know that our community has a lot of wonderful parents that spend a lot of time and volunteer at our school,” Starnes said when asked about being recognized as district Parent of the Year. “Without the support of my family, I wouldn’t be able to do it.”
When attending football and soccer games, you’ve likely seen Starnes and her fellow athletic booster parents running the concession stands. They make sure each middle school athlete gets a pre-game meal before their games and competition. The club holds an end-of-year athletic banquet which is a club focus to celebrate athletic successes.
With the PTA organization, Starnes helped secure a sponsor for a bleacher restoration project at the middle school gymnasium. The school library has been repainted and a teachers’ lounge was improved after Starnes enlisted the backing of HMS sixth-grade parents.
School officials also noted Starnes’ involvement in other projects for the school and its students. Employee birthdays are recognized, special events, Welcome Back to School lunches, and other activities have been held.
Starnes credited her ability with her work to be able to be involved in the school as much as she has.
“I’m able to have the flexibility with my job to run up to the school during the school day,” Starnes said. “Focusing on something that brings me joy is important to me.”
Hernando Middle School math instructor Anna Claire Parker noted Starnes’ attention to detail in Parker’s letter of recommendation.
“She (Starnes) makes me feel like a valued staff member and goes above and beyond when serving the staff with back-to-school breakfasts, Christmas coffee bars, and treat bags,” Parker said. “She recognizes that the attention to detail goes a long way in making the teachers in this building feel valued.”
Starnes said she appreciated the recognition she receives when she enters the school building.
“When I walk into the school, everybody knows me,” Starnes said. “The teachers and the staff have become my friends.”
The Mississippi Department of Education each year determines a state Parent of the Year from each district’s selection, including Starnes, who will represent the DeSoto County School District for state recognition.
By Bob Bakken, DeSoto Times-Tribune